Spring Training Storylines: Tyler Anderson
All eyes are on Jon Gray and Eddie Butler in spring training this year, but what can we expect from Tyler Anderson?
While the Rockies’ front office did not make many significant offseason moves to bolster the roster, there does seem to be some strategy in play. Jeff Bridich & Co appear to be putting most of their hope in the young ones coming up through the farm system, and this confidence is not misplaced. Eddie Butler delivered an underwhelming debut last season, but with some additional seasoning he could provide quite a boost to the rotation. Jon Gray waits in the wings as well. Both have a spring training invite this year, as they did last year, and could prove themselves ready for a midseason call-up.
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One guy we won’t see in spring training quite yet, but who could eventually prove himself essential, is Tyler Anderson. Anderson was the Rockies’ first-round draft pick in 2011, and he outperformed everyone else in the minors in 2014, including Gray and Butler. Despite this, he has not appeared on any pre-season top prospect lists. He does not present with the potential that several of our other top pitchers have. But as has been said, his numbers last year were stellar: a 1.98 ERA, 3 home runs allowed in 118 innings, 106 K’s, and 3.1 BB/9. Even better, these numbers do not drastically depart from Anderson’s previous minor league seasons; his highest ERA was 3.25 in Modesto in 2013, but every other year it has held below 3.00. Facing Triple-A batters some time this coming season in Albuquerque will give us important information about what to expect from Anderson going forward, but all signs are good.
Unfortunately, it was reported this week that Anderson’s injured elbow has flared up again, meaning he’s not yet been allowed to pitch in spring training despite being invited. It will be interesting to follow Anderson’s recovery, because if he is able to come to a point where he can throw at least a bullpen session, if not some actual innings, he will give us a much better sense than we currently have for what his major league capabilities are. Baseball America has praised Anderson’s command and intelligence, two upsides that will serve him well at Coors Field. I’m a believer in pitchers not being called up until they’re fully ready, so as not to put undue pressure on them, but I’d like to see Anderson at Coors soon. He’s got great stuff and the potential to make a big impact.