Ian Anderson has arrived at Spring Training with a new pitch

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Ian Anderson was one of the biggest disappointments of the 2022 campaign, especially with how effective he was for the Braves as they marched to a World Series. In 22 starts, he recorded a 5.00 ERA, striking out fewer batters than he ever had before and walking more. Anderson wasn’t fooling anybody on the mound with his limited pitch mix, and the result was an eventual demotion to Gwinnett, where things didn’t improve. Anderson found himself getting shelled by minor-leaguers before he was eventually shut down for the season with a minor arm injury.

For a pitcher that had experienced so much success early on in his career with essentially just two pitches (fastball/changeup), 2022 was a wake up call. The league caught up to his stuff, and he was consistently smacked around the yard. Adjustments must be made if Anderson wants to find success as a starting pitcher at the big-league level again, and it looks as if they’ve begun.

Anderson was seen training at the Wake Forest pitching lab this offseason, one of the best in the country, and he’s added a new pitch to his repertoire.

Anderson’s changeup is one of the best pitches in baseball when it’s on, but other than that, he never really had anything else he could rely on. His fastball is good, but it’s by no means an elite pitch. Anderson would sometimes mix in a curveball, but according to Baseball Savant, it’s less than 20% of the time and usually gets hit pretty hard.

I’m not sure if the introduction of a slider means he will stop throwing his curveball, but Anderson desperately needed to add an offering with some horizontal movement. To this point in his career, everything has been vertical, allowing opponents to sit on certain pitches, especially when they get ahead in the count. Anderson’s slider doesn’t have to become an elite offering for him to get back on track. It just needs to be enough to keep hitters honest. A little tweak like that may be all that it takes to get Anderson back on track.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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