Scouting Pitchers: Brett Anderson

Scouting Pitchers: Brett Anderson

This article is part of our Scouting Pitchers series.

Statistics through 5/6/09

This week, we'll check out Oakland's young left-hander who is making the jump from Double-A. Unlike someone with three years of college ball and a full season at Double-A, Anderson was drafted out of high school just three years ago and entered 2009 with 31 innings above Class A. Despite his talent, the A's youth movement, and their big ballpark, he will have an uphill battle to stay in the majors in 2009.

Arizona took Anderson with a second-round pick in 2006, and he made his pro debut in 2007. He posted a 2.21 ERA in 14 Midwest League starts, then made nine starts in the High-A California League (4.85 ERA) before a car accident ended his year. Traded to Oakland that December in the Dan Haren deal, Anderson started out well for his new team, striking out 80 in 74 innings (4.14 ERA) back in the Cal League. He then headed to Double-A (six starts, 2.61 ERA), China for the Olympics, and starred in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League playoffs.

Anderson's 28.2 spring innings led the A's, and his 2.83 ERA won him a rotation spot. He has pitched well in two of his five starts, with one quality start. Anderson has a blister problem that forced him out of his April 28 start and limited his effectiveness on May 4. As a result, he will miss his next start, with Sean Gallagher taking his turn.

Brett Anderson: (G/F 1.30)

  		Rating:  	%Thrown:  Fastball	60		55  Curveball	50		10  Slider		60		25  Changeup	55		10  Control		65  Delivery	50  Composure	60  

Anderson is sneaky fast, and has some movement on his 88-92 mph fastball. He busts right-handers inside and changes eye levels by moving hitters up the ladder with his fastball, inducing weak popouts.

Anderson has a good G/F ratio so far, but I suspect he will be a flyball pitcher soon. He gets a lot of ground balls by crowding right-handers with his 80-85 mph slider, and they roll over on it. Over time, right-handers will adjust and either back off the plate or pass on the slider. Half of them he throws inside are balls, anyway. If Anderson stays healthy and reaches his potential by refining his control, he'll improve his G/F ratio.

Anderson also throws a 76-80 mph curveball and an 80-84 mph changeup. He has a nice touch with his change, and can drop this over for a first-pitch strike or throw it 3-0. Anderson gives his change a traditional dip away from right-handers, and throws it to lefties more than you expect. His curveball is more of a show pitch at this point, as he's mainly going with the fastball and slider. Although his slider has good velocity, his offspeed pitches look a lot alike.

When Anderson is on, he works quick at-bats, mixing his pitches and keeping hitters off balance. He struck out J.D. Drew all three times on April 15. Anderson's experience in international competitions lets him pitch beyond his years.

When he is off, Anderson misses his spots inside, and AL hitters know how to handle those cookies. Anderson needs polish with runners on base, as his stretch delivery can get out of sync. He sometimes tries to muscle up with his fastball, and he can get underneath his slider. The opposition is hitting .395 off him with runners on base and .243 with the bases empty.

Anderson's motion suggests a more under control Oliver Perez. Each drops down and throws across their body somewhat, and their momentum carries them toward third base. Anderson also drops his forearm to tip his changeup, and needs work with his fielding. These are pretty standard areas of improvement for a 21-year-old who would normally be in Double-A.

Can Anderson survive 2009 in the majors? He could, but I think his career would be worse off, and he'd be better off in Triple-A. Anderson throws a lot of breaking stuff for a young pitcher and isn't overly physical. He could surmount these risk factors, as his peripheral numbers are strong despite his recent injury: 16.0 P/IP and just nine walks in 28 innings. Anderson has a lot of talent, and if he runs the injury gauntlet and keeps his velocity, he will be a good #3, with a few years as a #2. I don't recommend him as a fantasy option this year, and perhaps next as well.


Radar Love - May Fastballs:

98-99: Joel Zumaya against the Indians on May 3.
95-98: Fernando Rodney against the Indians on May 3.
92-99: Justin Verlander against the Indians on May 3.
93-97: Ubaldo Jimenez against the Giants on May 6.
92-97: Clayton Kershaw against the Nationals on May 6.
92-96: Zack Greinke against the White Sox on May 4.
94: Brad Lidge in St. Louis on May 5.
91-94: Johan Santana against the Phillies on May 6.
90-94: Tim Lincecum in Chicago on May 5.
89-93: Adam Wainwright against the Phillies on May 5.
88-92: Philip Hughes against the Red Sox on May 4.
89-90: Scott Downs against the Indians on May 5.
88-90: Scott Kazmir against the Orioles on May 4. Given Kazmir's declining stuff, now may be a good time to trade him in on his reputation.
87-90: Kevin Slowey against the Orioles on May 6.
87-90: Brett Myers in St. Louis on May 5.

Next week: NL West: Max Scherzer


Article first appeared 5/9/09

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James Benkard
James Benkard writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire
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