With all the attention being paid to the 2016 MLB draft over the last week, we've fallen behind in our MLB Rookie Report series. We will correct that ASAP, beginning with Colorado Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson, who made his major league debut on June 12th with a strong showing against the San Diego Padres (6.1 innings, six hits, one run, six strikeouts). Let's take a look at what Anderson has to offer.
Anderson was drafted by the Rockies in the first round in 2011 from the University of Oregon. He had strong seasons in 2012 (12-3, 2.47, 81/28 K/BB in 128 innings in Low-A), 2013 (3.25 in 75 innings, 63/24 K/BB in High-A) and 2014 (1.98 in 118 innings, 106/40 K/BB in Double-A) however his pitching time was limited each season by injuries. He then missed the entire 2015 season with elbow problems.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Tyler Anderson, LHP, Colorado Rockies
Bats: L Throws: L HT: 6-4 WT: 215 DOB: December 30, 1989
2012: Grade B; 2013: Grade B-; 2014: Grade C+; 2015: Grade B-
Tyler Anderson missed all of 2015 rehabbing a stress fracture in his throwing elbow. When healthy he is a standard finesse lefty with a deceptive delivery, an 87-92 MPH fastball and a solid major league-quality change-up. His breaking stuff is inconsistent; he’s used a curveball, traditional slider, and cutter at various times with various levels of success. The biggest issue really is health: he has a history of both elbow and shoulder glitches, a big problem considering that he needs innings to iron out the breaking stuff. All that said, Anderson has always pitched well when healthy and that will probably continue if he manages to get on the mound. Grade C+.
Anderson made six starts in the minors this year, posting a combined 2.35 ERA in 31 innings with a 30/13 K/BB between one High-A start, two Double-A starts, and three Triple-A outings.
As noted pre-season, Anderson has always been a successful pitcher and his first game against the Padres showed what he's capable of. His fastball is generally right around 90, bookended by 87s and 93s, but he locates very well. He has a full arsenal with various varieties of breaking balls and change-ups giving him spots to work with along the entire velocity band between 78 and 93. His pitching instincts can't be criticized and he's shown the ability to make needed adjustments. Despite the lost time, his secondary pitches have improved steadily.
Two things work against Anderson: durability and Colorado. Like all Rockies pitchers he'll have to deal with the altitude but even if he does that successfully, his health history is obviously a big factor. He's never gotten past 120 innings and even that was four years ago.
Anderson has the skill set to be a mid-rotation starter but may never have sufficient durability to be a 32-start, 200 inning guy. He'll need to be handled judiciously but on a per-inning basis he should be effective.