In what has been a terrific season for the Braves, featuring a number of magnificent surprises, there have also been some massive disappointments. Marcell Ozuna, despite his recent success, has been one of the worst players in all of baseball and an even bigger distraction off the field. The Eddie Rosario we saw last season hasn’t shown up once in 2022. Will Smith couldn’t find his form and was eventually traded. But the biggest disappointment to me — because of the expectations — has been Ian Anderson.
Up until this season, Anderson’s career was off to a spectacular start. He was called up during the COVID-shortened season in 2020 and nearly won the Rookie of the Year award. Anderson then followed it up with a more than respectable 3.58 ERA over his first full season in the bigs last year, and we all know just how dominant he’s been in the postseason, owning a ridiculous 1.26 ERA in 35.2 innings. The man has balls of steel, which is why his regression this year has been so unpredictable.
Despite all the success he had over his first two seasons, I never saw Anderson as a frontline guy. His lack of a third offering has always prevented him from reaching that status, but his fastball/changeup combination is still one of the best in the business, making him a tremendous middle-of-the-rotation candidate. For whatever reason, things just haven’t clicked for Ian Anderson in 2022. Over 22 starts for the Braves, he posted an even 5.00 ERA, leading to a demotion… and things haven’t gotten any better in Gwinnett.
In fact, things have only been worse with the Stripers. He’s made four starts, and all of the same problems have held Anderson back, leading to a 5.40 and 1.615 WHIP. With the season winding down, it’s looking like this year will be a wash for him. I don’t expect to see Ian Anderson again in Atlanta, but I don’t think we’ve heard the last from him. He has way too much talent not to figure things out. Anderson must work on developing a third offering this offseason. That could be the difference between him starting next year in the minors or being one of the Braves’ best rotation arms.
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