Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Brett Anderson, SP

On Thursday evening, Brett Anderson takes the hill for the Stockton Ports playing somewhat of an unusual role: that of stopper. The 24-9 Ports have won so often this season that it has been a rare event indeed that Anderson has had to pitch after a Ports' loss. He will take on his old team, the Visalia Oaks, looking to get Stockton back into the win column. We caught-up with Anderson for a Q&A.

When Brett Anderson joined the Oakland A's organization in the Dan Haren trade this off-season, he came carrying the label as one of the most promising left-handed pitching prospects in baseball. Thus far in 2008, Anderson has lived up to and even exceeded those expectations with an outstanding start to his first season with the Oakland organization.

In six starts for the Stockton Ports, Anderson has a 5-1 record and a sterling 2.43 ERA. He has struck-out more than a batter an inning (36 in 33.1 innings), allowed fewer hits than innings pitched (27 hits allowed), all while keeping the ball on the ground and in the ballpark (1.63 ground-out to air-out ratio and one HR allowed). Anderson takes the hill on Thursday looking for his fourth straight victory. He will be facing a Visalia Oaks team that he dominated in his last start, when he went seven innings, allowing no runs on two hits and no walks, while striking out 10. It was a homecoming for Anderson, who pitched for the Oaks during the second half of last season while he was in the Arizona Diamondbacks' chain.

We caught-up with the precocious 20-year-old over the weekend to chat briefly about his hot start, his friendly competition with fellow 20-year-old ace Trevor Cahill and more…

OaklandClubhouse: I wanted to get your take on how the beginning of the season has gone? Obviously you are throwing the ball really well.

Brett Anderson: It's going really well. I had one bad outing against San Jose, but otherwise I feel like I have thrown pretty well. It's been a good start to the year so far.

OC: Is there anything in particular that you have been focusing on?

BA: Not really. You are kind of just getting used to the start of the season and working on getting your pitches where you want them to go. So I'm not really focusing specifically on any one aspect, just trying to work on the game as a whole and get off to a good start.

OC: Did it feel weird to pitch in Visalia against some of your old teammates?

BA: It was a little different coming out and seeing those guys take BP and stuff and seeing those guys that I played with last year in South Bend and Visalia. It is always good to catch-up with those guys and it is always a little bit better to do well against them, too. That was fun. [laughs]

OC: Are you enjoying transitioning into the organization? Did you have a good spring?

BA: Yeah. Spring was fun. Very laid-back, which kind of fits my personality. There are a few guys on the team who are my age, like [Trevor] Cahill and a few others, so that has been fun. It's been a good transition.

OC: Obviously the starting rotation has been really good. Do you guys play off of one another at all? If Trevor has a good outing, do you try to one-up him and so forth?

BA: Yeah, I think it works that way a lot. I give him a hard time because he went seven innings and struck-out 12 and I went seven innings and struck-out 10. Then he had a no-hitter going and I was like ‘no way, he's going to throw a no-hitter after I go seven innings and strike-out 10.' [laughs] So it definitely works out that way that there is a friendly competition. We are both the same age and we kind of feed off of each other.

OC: How enjoyable has it been to be on a roll like this and win so many games?

BA: Oh, it has definitely been fun. As I said, the starters, we try to go out there and one-up the other starter's good outing and try to keep this streak going as long as we can.

OC: Do you have any specific goals for this season or are you trying to build off of what you have done the last year and a half or so?

BA: Yeah, I am trying to build off of what I did last year. So far this year, I don't have a specific thought about where I want to be [level-wise]. I am just trying to go with the flow and see where it takes me.

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