Our countdown of the Colorado Rockies 40-man roster is nearing a conclusion, as we cover half of the remaining 10 players today. As a reminder, we compiled this list by asking each of our six contributors to Rox Pile to rank each member of Colorado’s 40-man roster from 1-40. To reach our final standings, we combined the points to see who fit where. The more points, the lower the ranking.
Tyler Anderson: Starting Pitcher Points: 60 Highest Rank: 7 Lowest: 15
The most meaningful thing that happened to the Rockies in 2016 was the emergence of a flock of young, talented ballplayers. But of all the Colorado rookies that made their big league debuts last season, the sudden emergence of Tyler Anderson might have been the most surprising.
Anderson was a first round pick out of the University of Oregon back in the 2011 MLB Draft. He lived up to that pressure, rising quickly through the minor leagues before suffering a stress fracture in his pitching elbow
The damage from that injury shut Anderson down not only for the rest of 2014, but the entirety of the 2015 season as well. After missing nearly a year and a half with an elbow injury, some doubted that Anderson would ever reach the big leagues at all.
When MLB.com released their prospect rankings for the Colorado system at the end of the 2015 season, Anderson didn’t even earn a spot on the 30-man list.
But things change quickly in baseball. As Anderson worked his way back in the minor leagues, Jorge De La Rosa and the Rockies bullpen struggled in the majors. On June 11th, just a little over a month after Anderson’s season debut in Modesto, he was called up to the big leagues and plugged into the starting rotation.
The Rockies were likely hoping that Anderson would just be passable enough to get through a few starts while they figured things out in the bullpen. Instead, he instantly became one of the better pitchers in the rotation, posting a 5-6 record with a 3.54 ERA over 19 starts.
Anderson’s best weapon is his sinker, which he used to generate ground balls on 50.9% of all contact against him last season (the league average was 44.7%). Coors Field doesn’t make much of a difference if the ball is consistently on the ground, and with one of the game’s best defensive infields behind him, grounders led to success for Anderson last season.
Anderson’s injury history makes it a bit harder to fully trust him, but a full season with the kind of results he produced in 2016 would firmly establish Anderson as a mainstay in the Rockies starting rotation.