Braves: Are we sleeping on Ian Anderson going into 2020?

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As the third-best prospect in a team’s system and a top-50 prospect in all of baseball no matter who is ranking them, it’s almost impossible to fly under the radar. Somehow, it feels like Ian Anderson is doing just that. Kyle Wright was disappointing last season but had a super impressive spring with a 2.03 ERA & 0.75 WHIP over 13.1 IP. Guys like Kyle Muller, Tucker Davidson, and Patrick Weigel are all making a push for the major league roster. The organization is still working on getting Touki Toussaint & Bryse Wilson ready for a make or break season. So what about the former #3 overall pick?

The 21-year-old phenom only received 5.1 innings this spring but was sharp in limited action. He did have an ugly 1.23 WHIP but only gave up one run while striking out six men. I thought he would see a longer taste of major league action, but he was sent to minor league camp to work on his game a little more. Anderson was named the 2019 Braves Minor League Pitcher of the Year for a reason — his stats were video game like in AA.

2019 Mississippi: 2.68 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, & 147 K in 111 IP with 1 CG

Anderson didn’t have as much luck in limited AAA action in Gwinnett. The balls are a little different, and the skill level just isn’t the same. He gave up 18 ER in 24.2 IP and has a lot to prove coming into this season. But like many prospects, Anderson has started slowly in most of his stops around the league, and I think he’ll be a lot closer to the Mississippi version of himself in 2020 when the season finally does get underway. There is nothing wrong with being excited about all of these other prospects, but Anderson is one of the few that has a chance to be an elite starter and maybe even the ace of this Atlanta rotation sooner rather than later.

A shortened season (if there even is one) is going to mess up a lot of the ETAs for some of these prospects. Anderson may be one that feels the brunt of this — because if he were to have had an electric first half — he could have found himself a pivotal piece to the roster in September/October.

 

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