Justin Anderson, Right-Handed Pitcher
HT : 6'3
WT : 205
DOB : September 28, 1992 (23), in Houston, Texas, United States
Throws : Right
Bats : Left
School : University of Texas at San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)
Acquired : Drafted 14th Round of 2014 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : Unranked
There may not have been a more consistent starter in the Angels farm system last season than Justin Anderson. Simplicity is the key to Anderson's success, and he's started to make a name for himself all beginning with a strong 2015 campaign.
Justin Anderson is a simple pitcher, which is great because baseball can be a simple game. He has a good tempo, simple arsenal, and does all the right things to continue progressing.
Anderson learned tempo early in his college career, and is using that as a professional. Tempo can throw off batter's timing, as Anderson works quick with a proper pace to keep batters guessing. This is something the Angels preach, so Anderson was a step ahead upon being drafted.
Anderson has a fastball that's been described by him as "simple." Simplicity works though as it has some cutting action to it and sits primarily in the high 80's and low 90's, tapping out around 92-93. Most nights you'll see Anderson work around 89-91.
Anderson has a pair of off-speed pitches, in a slider with a good 10-to-6 tilt, and changeup that's roughly 10-13 miles per hour slower than his fastball.
Anderson has the perfect frame for pitching at six-foot-three and 200 plus pounds. This frame and athleticism allows him to eat innings, and maintain his stuff through late innings.
Anderson's strongest ability is his command, as he can throw any pitch in any count where he desires to place the ball. If he's not in the zone, he's right around it, so when you look at his walk totals (right around average), don't be alarmed. He keeps the ball down constantly and rarely puts the ball above the waist, unless he wants to elevate his fastball, which he's prone to on two-strike counts.
Anderson has a deceptive delivery, going through the motions quick. This may cause his velocity to remain in the low 90's, but it works to his advantage. He begins his delivery with a quick leg kick, double tap of the glove and quick release, which not only hides the ball but allows the baseball to get to the plate quicker from a batters' eyes.
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Scouting Report from Dave Bohnenkamp - Affiliate Anaylyst for Scout.com, and Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com
Anderson was a three-year starter for Adam Massiatte at St. Pius High School, and was named a three-time all-district selection. Anderson heard his name twice as an all-state selection, and led his team to a district title his senior year, and was a part of the state championship team his sophomore year. As a senior, Anderson posted a 9-2 record with a 1.31 ERA and 12.01 K/9 in 69.2 innings pitched. He also hit seven home runs the same season with a .548/.659/.894 slugging percentage.
As a freshman at UT-San Antonio, Anderson posted a 3-2 record with a 6.63 ERA, and was named the Southland Conference Player of the Week once. That week, he held McNeese State to one hit while facing one over the minimum. At the plate, Anderson was a star, batting .324 with eight extra-base hits.
After a down sophomore year, Anderson returned as a stud his junior year on the mound only, posting a 2.92 ERA and 1.527 WHIP. Anderson's strikeout totals fell slightly, but his abilities to limit runs was premier, helped by his 2.67 walks-per-nine ratio.
Anderson was drafted in the 14th round by the Angels, and his professional debut did not see a desired outcome. While beginning the season in Rookie Orem, he was hit hard - which wasn't helped by the hitter friendly Pioneer League. Anderson landed in the AZL affiliate, with his season seeing an 8.07 ERA and 1.897 WHIP.
Anderson rebounded last season, having only three of his 28 starts go for over three earned runs allowed. Anderson had a stretch from early May to mid July where he never allowed over three earned runs, and held a 2.50 ERA, 1.319 WHIP, and held opposing batters to a .318 on-base percentage. Anderson led Burlington in innings pitched, and led all full-time starters in ERA (3.41) and walks-per-nine (3.2).
Though Justin may not have been the "ace" of the Burlington rotation last year, he was definitely the most consistent, and is ready for the next level. He's not making a move to the bullpen, so he'll probably take the back of the order in Inland Empire's rotation in 2016. His ability to keep the ball down will be a large key to success in the hitter friendly Cal League.
Like we said above in the scouting report, Anderson is very simple. However, his ability to command all pitches will be a big part of him moving forward, and reaching the highest levels of the Minor Leagues. He's still striking guys out and forcing outs in the field, and as long as he does that, he'll continue moving up in the chain.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.