Giants Top 50: #8 - Brian Anderson

Sometimes you just never can tell. When the Giants drafted him out of college, his soft-tossing ways had him throwing less than 90 MPH and setting up for his college team. But the Giants still made him a closer anyway. The result was eye-popping in his first season, but it was outright record setting in 2007. #8 is Brian Anderson!

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) in the 2005 Draft
2006 Stats
Team-Level W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG G/F
San Jose - High-A 1 1 1.86 54 0 37 67.2 44 14 14 5 17 85 .183 085

One of those things when you follow prospects day in and day out is a tendency to see people get all googly-eyed over the pitchers who have ‘stuff' (usually defined as a devastatingly fast fastball, no matter how straight or out of control it is), and dismiss pretty much everyone else.

Maybe, then, it's a little reactionary to root for a guy like Brian Anderson.  Maybe.  But even so, there's so much to like about Anderson that everyone else is missing.

Anderson comes to the mound with a fastball that sits nicely in the high 80's, occasionally reaching 90.  On that alone, a lot of people choose to stop reading on some prospects, so we're compelled to write something that should keep people reading.

127 strikeouts.  20 walks.  95.1 innings pitched.  56 saves in 59 opportunities.  0.84 WHIP.  1.89 ERA.

Simply put, that's ridiculous, for any kind of ‘stuff'.  That's Anderson's career numbers through about one and a half seasons, so far.  If that doesn't scream ‘PAY ATTENTION,' nothing ever will.

Anderson has done this because his fastball has surprising bite with a cut that always seems to find a corner.  He also has impeccable control, both with his fastball and his good slider and change-up, and can mix his pitches to simply confound hitters.  He walked only 3 hitters in his debut at Salem-Keizer, a span of 27.2 innings.  He's also got the attitude of a bulldog, and will attack the strike zone, rarely finding himself behind in the count.

It may seem unlikely for a kid who didn't even work as his team's closer in college, where Anderson collected just 4 saves in 72 career appearances for Long Beach State.  But the Giants drafted him in the 14th round of the '05 draft and never wavered on the decision.

Again, to talk results: Anderson was the MVP of the playoff-bound San Jose Giants in 2006.  He was the Pitcher of the Year for the California League.  Minor League Baseball named him the Class-A Advanced Reliever of the Year.  And after setting the team record for saves in Salem-Keizer in 2005 (19), he skipped a level and shattered the record for saves in a season for the 65-year old California League (37).

What is most interesting about Anderson is how he takes everything he's done in stride.

"I need to develop a pitch that goes away from lefties," Anderson told MiLB.com after the season.  This coming from a guy who allowed a .223 batting average against left handed hitters for the year (albeit, it does look high compared to the .158 average allowed to right handers).  However, Anderson did allow 4 of his 5 home runs allowed against batters from the left side, so the reason for concern is legitimate.

Anderson's future is not much in doubt.  He'll be promoted, at least to Connecticut.  And although he didn't get an invite to the Major League camp for Spring Training as General Manager Brian Sabean said he might earn, Anderson could conceivably find himself earning a trip straight to Fresno to start the season.

Beyond that, it's harder to say.  He looks like a real major leaguer, but the role he'll take is harder to predict.  It'd be wonderful to say he'll be a major league closer, but it is a truth to say he'll have to earn it and beat out more than a few commonly held beliefs.  He'll get that chance, but for now he definitely looks like he'll at least be a setup man of the highest caliber.  He'll go out there, he won't hurt himself with walks, and get through the late innings quickly.

For now, however, it'll be fun to see if he continues to be the guy who make people break away from their stereotypes and realize that you don't have to light up a radar gun to dominate from the mound.



Have any questions about these prospects, or perhaps some we haven't named? SFDugout.com will be answering your questions throughout this series! Send your questions to sfdugout@yahoo.com!

Check out the other prospects at the Top 50 Prospects Index!



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