Dean Anna wasn't even a full-time player in professional baseball until last season. Now he's almost impossible to get out.
The Tucson Padres' infielder was selected as a Triple-A All-Star for the Pacific Coast League last week. It's his second mid-season All-Star selection in as many season.
Anna is having a career-year at the plate. He got the night off Saturday in the Padres 5-2 loss to Las Vegas, that snapped a three-game Padres win streak. But Anna has batted .342 in 83 games this season, fifth best in the PCL.
Anna last season hit .271 last season with Double-A San Antonio while playing in 129 games. The 26-year old is a former 26th round pick in 2008 out of Ball State University.
His almost 70-point increase in batting average from Double-A in 2012 to Triple-A in 2013 is eye-popping.
"It's just my mental approach," said Anna. "If I get a good pitch to hit, I'm gonna to take a good hack at it and I've been putting a good swing on it and you know the balls not been getting caught."
He categorizes himself as a grinder who just tries to be as consistent in his work ethic as he can be and his teammates would agree.
"The guys works hard," said infielder Cody Decker. "He spends a lot of time in the cage, a lot of time in the field. He's always been able to play now he's just getting a chance to show it."
Padres Manager Pat Murphy attributes the jump in average to the simple fact that Anna is simply a better player than he was last season.
Still, much like his teammate Daniel Robertson, you won't find Anna on anyone's prospect list.
But like Murphy said once before this season, when players are coming up (through the minor league system) it's a prospect game but once they get to this level it's a player game.
If the San Diego Padres find themselves in need of a middle infield player in the near future, Dean Anna might just be the guy who gets the call.
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