It was a day to remember for the Gwinnett Stripers, as the unanimous top three top prospects in the Braves system all made their AAA debuts.
Ian Anderson was on the mound. He’s the #2 prospect on the SportsTalkATL prospect list, but this was not the first impression he imagined making on his new teammates. After leading the Southern League in strikeouts and recording a 2.68 ERA in 21 starts for Mississippi, Anderson never found his control against the Rochester Red Wings.
He allowed three walks in the first inning, including one that brought a run in. Luckily, that was the only damage done, but when you hand out free passes, eventually, they come home to roost. Anderson walked another in the third, gave up two singles to load the bases, and then Alejandro De Aza broke the game open with a grand slam. That would be the end of the road for Anderson, who exited at the conclusion of the inning.
His final line: 3 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO
A mix of a new ball and some nerves probably factored into what ended up being an underwhelming debut. It’s nothing to worry about, and Anderson’s ceiling remains through the roof. But it does put some perspective on how far he will have to come if he wants to be considered for the MLB rotation before the end of this season. It’s looking more and more unlikely that happens.
The debuts for Pache and Waters could not have started any differently. Both players singled in their first at-bats. Waters’ hit might not have left the infield, but it still counts. The switch-hitting, five-tool prospect then drove in a run in his second at-bat with a line drive through the right side. Not to be outdone, Pache picked up his first RBI in Gwinnett the third time through the order. Waters would add another single – this time from the right-handed batter’s box – finishing 3-5 on the night. Pache grounded out in his final at-bat to go 2-5.
Regardless of the performances, it was a significant day for all three of these young men as they inch one step closer to their ultimate goal. They each could begin the start of the 2020 season in Atlanta, but seeing them before the end of this season remains a longshot.