Nick Anderson hoped that 2023 would be the season he got things turned back in the right direction. He'd missed time in 2022 due to recovering from surgery for a partial repair of his UCL.
Before dealing with nagging injuries, Anderson was one of baseball's most dominant relievers during his time in Tampa. Anderson held a 1.85 ERA across 48 outings with the Rays before inking a one-year deal with the Braves worth $875,000.
Things started great for Anderson but he wasn't able to sustain that success and eventually found himself injured again landing on the 60-day IL during the All-Star break. He wouldn't pitch for Atlanta again despite trying his best to get back late in the season.
The first two months were excellent for Anderson and he got some meaningful innings for the Braves because of it. He carried a 3.47 ERA and 2.36 FIP through April and May. Over 23.1 innings, he held opponents to a .191 average allowing just nine earned runs with 3 walks and 28 strikeouts.
Anderson did a good job against left-handed bats but seemed to struggle a bit against right-handers. Against lefties, he carried a 1.36 FIP through 16.1 innings pitched. He also issued fewer walks against left-handed bats as well, earning a 0.55 BB/9 rate.
Right-handed bats ate him up as his FIP jumped to 4.57 when facing them his KK/9 sat at 9 but the BB/9 was abysmal at 3.79 over 19 innings.
So while his 3.06 ERA looks impressive over the 35.1 innings pitched, looking deeper into his numbers gives you a better picture of his struggles. Some of that could be attributed to a shoulder injury that landed him on the 60-day IL right before the All-Star break.
Atlanta was hopeful he might return closer to playoff time but it wasn't to be. Shoulder injuries are hard to rehab and even harder to predict how they'll heal. Anderson never returned to action on the mound and eventually found himself being traded to the Kansas City Royals.
The Braves received cash considerations in return for his services despite having 2 more years of control of Anderson's contract. Nick was a reliever that was expected to be a difference-maker for Atlanta but health robbed fans of seeing what might have been.
Royals manager Matt Quatraro is familiar with Nick Anderson as he was a coach with the Rays during Anderson's best years. He gets a chance to show that he still has something left in the tank and unless the Royals contend for the playoffs this season, he'll likely be floated as a trade chip this Summer.