Atlanta Braves Ian Anderson Pegged as Rookie of the Year Candidate
Atlanta Braves RHP Ian Anderson was recently recognized by MLB.com as one of the top 10 RHP prospects in the game.
The Atlanta Braves entered last season with plenty of questions surrounding their starting pitching staff. Early injuries to Cole Hamels and Felix Hernandez caused much concern among Braves’ fans. Then, Braves ace Mike Soroka suffered a season-ending achilles injury in just his third start of the season.
Outside of a breakout season from Max Fried, the rest of the rotation was in shambles. The outlook was not bright. Hope for a third straight NL East title was fading fast. By the end of the year, an explosive offense, a deep bullpen, improved performances from young pitching and continued dominance from Max Fried helped turn things around.
One of the major factors was the immediate emergence of RHP and top pitching prospect, Ian Anderson.
Anderson brought a stellar combination of a plus curveball, a 97-mph heater, and a devastating changeup. A quick look at his Baseball Savant page shows just how dominant Anderson was in 2020. His over-the-top release brought over-the-top results.
Anderson finished in the top ten in the following metrics:
He also finished in the top 1% of the league in Barrel % allowing just one barreled ball in the entire 2020 campaign. He kept hitters off balance and guessing on every pitch. HIs elite changeup was like art. Watching him release that bad boy in slow motion over and over never got old.
His traditional stats revealed his dominance, as well. The youngster finished with a 1.95 ERA in six starts with a 1.08 WHIP. He struck out 11.4 batters per nine and finished with an ERA+ of 246.
His dominance continued into the postseason where he struck out 24 batters in 18.2 IP, allowing just two earned runs.
MLB.com picked Anderson as their choice for Rookie of the Year in 2021. The Braves pitching staff enters 2021 with a lot of stability now that Anderson has established himself. Add him to a returning Mike Soroka, Max Fried, and newly signed starting pitchers Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly, and the future is shining brightly.
Do you think Anderson will continue to dominate in 2021? Will he finish as the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year as predicted in the MLB.com article? Share your thoughts below.