One of the most intriguing names to watch this Spring Training is right-handed pitcher Nick Anderson. The Braves signed the 32-year-old to a partially guaranteed contract this offseason in hopes he can find the magic that made him one of the most dominant relievers in the league a few years ago when he was with the Rays.
Anderson only has 87.1 major-league innings under his belt, but his numbers are astounding. He owns a career 2.89 ERA, 14.1 K/9, and 0.962 WHIP. During the shortened 2020 season, Anderson posted a ridiculous 0.55 ERA in 19 appearances during the regular season and was a key piece to the Rays’ run to the World Series, appearing in seven straight postseason games, which broke the MLB record.
Unfortunately, Anderson’s success was put on hold the following season as elbow issues arose. He eventually had to undergo Tommy John surgery and hasn’t pitched in a major-league game since. However, he’s back healthy in Braves camp and looked good in his first outing of Spring Training yesterday, pitching a scoreless inning with a couple of strikeouts. According to Mark Bowman, Anderson’s fastball was consistently hitting 93 and even touched 94, which isn’t far off from where he was pre-injury.
The Braves have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to their bullpen. It will once again be one of the best units in the league, and Nick Anderson could make it that much better. However, he’ll have to continue to look his best throughout Spring Training. There are only so many arms that can make the Opening Day roster. Some good ones will be let go, but Anderson’s upside makes him an ultra-intriguing candidate that I’m rooting for to make the team out of camp.
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