While I expect to find this post with low readership because there’s some kind of football game on television later, I thank each of you who decided to click today. I’ll try to save you some time by not drawing out this introduction. Instead, let’s get right into today’s profile of…
I was tempted to simply make this blog post a redirect link so that you could read Tim Brown’s excellent profile of who Robert Chase Anderson is as a man. Instead, I decided to still give some additional background and go over his performance on the field like I tend to do in these things. You absolutely should read Brown’s piece too though, and probably first.
Anyway, Anderson comes to Milwaukee this off-season as part of the return for sending Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Anderson is a right-handed pitcher who has worked exclusively as a starting pitcher for four of the past five seasons after spending his first two professional years splitting time with a bit more spent entering games in relief. 2013 is the oddity as he worked in 26 games but only 13 starts.
That decision was made in no small part because of, as is so often the case with pitchers, injury. Anderson first suffered a sprained flexor tendon in his pitching elbow in 2011 which caused him to miss almost the entire season. He had additional, likely related, elbow issues each of the next two years which ultimately led to the D’backs shifting him to the bullpen for part of the year to see how Anderson reacted physically.
Anderson didn’t pitch well out of the bullpen though so the move back to the rotation was made. Fortunately, Anderson had been healthy since (up to midsummer 2015) and was able to showcase his abilities to the point where he’s not only made his MLB debut (May 11, 2014) but stayed in the big leagues. Outside of one start on August 2nd last year with the rookie ball team, Anderson has been a big leaguer since he became one.
Now 28 years old, the 6’1″ Anderson is firmly in what is often considered the prime of one’s baseball career. He started 27 games for the D’backs last year, throwing 152.2 innings. His overall season numbers don’t look great (4.30 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 95 ERA+) but there’s nuance inside of those numbers.
Anderson’s worst stretch of the year came in the five starts leading up to a stint on the disabled list with right triceps inflammation. In those five starts prior, Anderson struggled to a 9.12 ERA. He would miss about three weeks with the injury and pitched much better afterward overall.
From a business standpoint, Anderson offers a lot of value for the rebuilding Brewers. There exists a full five seasons of team control for Anderson which means the next two are pre-arbitration. Brewers brass indicated that Anderson will join the rotation immediately which more or less sets the starting rotation (barring injury or trade).
But obviously the true test of value comes in the execution of the baseball skills. If you can pitch effectively, you’ll be worth the paycheck. If Anderson is healthy, all signs point to his being good enough to be worth more than he’ll deposit into his bank account this year.
How will he accomplish that? Anderson will tell you (as he did on the radio recently) that his best pitch is his change-up. It’s been that way for awhile for the native Texan. Around the time of Anderson’s MLB debut, the Diamondbacks’ bullpen coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. (who had spent the previously three seasons as Arizona’s minor league pitching coordinator) was quoted as saying this about Anderson’s best pitch.
“It’s definitely the best in our system. Hitters obviously don’t recognize his change-up and they see fastball. He has such good hand speed and arm speed and deception on the pitch.”
A quality change should serve Anderson will in Miller Park and it’s made even better by the fact that his average fastball velocity was up over 93 MPH at the end of last year. Increased difference in the speed of those two pitches isn’t a bad thing.
The bottom line for Anderson is that the Brewers seem to be getting a hard worker with high character who is effective when healthy.
Follow Chase on Twitter: @ChaseAnderson87
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