Top 50 Prospects: #28 - Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson is a common name in baseball, and it'd be most recognized as a pitcher for the Kansas City Royals or a top prospect for the Chicago White Sox. But the Giants have one too, and after the closing performance he put up in Salem-Keizer, you should start thinking of him first when hearing that name.

Date of Birth: 05/25/1983 Position: P Height: 6'3" Weight: 210 Bats: R Throws: R
Acquired: Drafted in the 14th Round (#432 Overall) of the 2005 Draft
2005 Stats
Salem-Keizer - Short A 3 1 1.95 27 0 19 27.2 16 6 6 2 3 42 .162 1.10

It’s pretty easy to get confused when trying to talk about the Giants’ Brian Anderson. When you talk about baseball, people might think you’re talking about a starting pitcher for the Royals, or a top outfield prospect for the White Sox. Even when talking about the Giants, people might confuse the closer for another hot closer with a similar name, Brian Wilson.

Just remember: 42-3. That’s his strikeout-to-walk ratio. Yes, that’s 42 strikeouts versus 3 walks. In less than 28 innings, no less. Those sorts of stats will help the memory.

The Giants plucked Anderson out of Long Beach State’s bullpen, which was one of the best in the country. Anderson, however, never served as the team’s fulltime closer in his four years with them, picking up 4 saves in 72 career college appearances. It didn’t matter, as he made the closer role his own. He led the Northwest League with 19 saves (4 more than the 2nd place player), and anchored a bullpen that was rock solid, leading the Volcanoes to a 39-0 record when leading after 7 innings. He was also named the RH reliever on the NWL All-Star team (the team only picks 4 pitchers, right handers and left handers in the starting and relieving roles).

The surprising thing is that Anderson doesn’t come at you with stereotypical closer stuff. He works with a fastball that sits in the low 90’s. But he’s got an excellent strikeout pitch in his hard closer, has a good changeup, and as you probably guessed, has control of all his pitches. Even in college, he never had double digits walks in a season. He matches this with a closer’s attitude and very good makeup on the mound.

The question is whether or not Anderson can keep up this sort of production as he moves through the minors. Despite his strikeout numbers in his pro debut, he usually had less than a strikeout an inning in college, and doesn’t project to be a huge strikeout pitcher as he starts facing better hitters. His ability to work within the zone could also leave him susceptible to hitters who deserve more respect than those he’s faced so far.

He should start 2006 in at least Augusta, and may get pushed to San Jose right away. Anderson has all the tools to move quickly through the system, and will probably be the first 2005 draftee to make the majors. The question is which role he will have when he makes the majors. His stuff is indicative of a setup man, but if he makes the most of his control and slider, being a closer at the highest levels is not outside of his reach.

He will have some bumps on the road, especially next season, but Brian Anderson will certainly be making a name for himself in the Giants system quickly, and no Giants fans will be confused about who he is much longer.

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