The Curious Case of Brett Anderson


The Colorado Rockies’ best starting pitcher this season was Brett Anderson, even with only eight total starts for the season. This was Anderson’s first season with the Rockies after five seasons with the Oakland Athletics.

During the winter of 2013 the A’s traded Anderson to the Rockies. Anderson started his career as a 21 year old rookie back in 2009. During his rookie year Anderson started 30 games for Oakland and finished with a 4.06 ERA. He ended up pitching 175.1 innings that season, and it seemed like Anderson was on his way to a great career.

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However, his first year was the most starts and innings Anderson would ever throw in his career. In Anderson’s second year, he started in 19 games and lowered his ERA to 2.80, while pitching 112.1 innings.

During Anderson’s third season he was injured during a start in June and ended up having to have Tommy John surgery. This finished his season with only 13 starts and 83.1 innings. In addition, he was forced to go through a 13 month recovery.

Anderson made his return to the A’s in August the following season, but after only six starts he had an oblique strain and it finished his regular season. He was able to make a return in the playoffs and pitch the A’s to a win in game three of the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers. It was another short season, however, while he pitched well with a 2.57 ERA in just 35 innings.

The 2013 season began with Anderson being named the Opening Day starter, yet this was by far Anderson’s worst season. He finished the month of April with a 6.21 ERA, then found himself again on the DL with a stress fracture in his right foot. When Anderson returned to the team, he came out of the bullpen and that is how he finished the season.

With the Rockies

After finishing the 2013 season in the bullpen it was obvious he was no longer part of the plan for the A’s. This led to the trade to Colorado. The 2014 season played out like a typical Anderson season: he looked so good at times, only to have his year cut short by injury.

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After making only three starts Anderson fractured his left index finger, which required surgery to fix. Once he was able to come back on July 13, he looked like he was getting back to the Anderson many people believed he could still be. He had three straight starts where he pitched six plus innings, including two games where he struck out eight or more.

Then it happened again. During his start on August 5th he left the game with a back injury and needed surgery to repair a disk in his lower back. He finished the 2014 season with a 2.91 ERA in 43.1 innings.

On November 1st, the Rockies decided not to pick up his $12 million option, which was the right thing to do as he has not pitched more than 45 innings over the past three years.

What does the future hold?

The most difficult part with Anderson is you can see the talent when he is able to pitch: his career ERA is 3.73. However, he was only able to complete a full season one time during his six year career and that was his rookie season.

Because of his talent, Anderson will receive another chance or two to start for a MLB team. He is only 26 years old, which could lead some teams to believe he can turn things around.

The Rockies made the right decision by not picking up his option and now could look to sign Anderson to a smaller contract. Colorado has to keep in mind the risks and rewards that come with signing a player like Anderson. If (and that is a big if) Anderson can stay healthy, he could provide the Rockies with some much needed starting pitching.

On the other hand, he could end up never being able to stay healthy and wasting away on the DL for the rest of his career. Even still, with the Rockies’ historical issues in developing good starting pitching, Anderson could be a risk worth taking.