Braves: Ian Anderson implodes in Gwinnett

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The Braves came into the season with an embarrassment of starting pitching depth. At least… it looked like it on paper. However, we are quickly realizing why Alex Anthopoulos places such an emphasis on starting pitching. With injuries being an inevitability and others guaranteed to experience struggles, it’s important to have around ten major-league caliber starters in the fold, which the Braves might need much sooner than anticipated.

The injury bug has struck the Braves rotation early on. Nothing seems too serious, but Kyle Wright is still ramping up his workload after rehabbing his shoulder this offseason. Max Fried also suffered a hamstring injury in his first start of the season and is expected to head to the injured list. With Kolby Allard already on the 60-day IL, the Braves are turning to rookies Dylan Dodd and Jared Shuster, and they’ll likely have to add Bryce Elder to the rotation to replace Max Fried.

The Braves’ starting pitching depth doesn’t feel nearly as comforting as it once did, especially with Ian Anderson looking like a shell of the pitcher that once helped them win the World Series in 2021. He made his first appearance for Gwinnett Sunday afternoon after struggling in Spring Training and couldn’t even make it out of the first inning, giving up six runs and three homers.

I said before the season that Ian Anderson was nowhere close to being major-league ready. He was awful in 2022 and looked even worse in Spring Training. The Braves were always going to have to see a lot from him before they gave him another shot in Atlanta, and Sunday’s performance was just another step in the wrong direction.

It’s now fair to wonder if we will ever see Anderson in a Braves uniform again. His fastball velocity was down, and his changeup isn’t fooling anyone anymore. For a pitcher that only relies primarily on two pitches, it’s a nightmare scenario. If Anderson is ever going to figure it out again, he’ll have to find a reliable third offering, and that’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. The Braves might stick it out with him for the entire season because of what he’s done in the past, but there could be a DFA in his future much sooner than we ever anticipated, which would be another blow to Atlanta’s starting pitching depth.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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