Drew Anderson has all of the minor league numbers he needs to be considered at least a decent prospect. Unfortunately, over seven games in the majors over the past two seasons, he’s done nothing to show that he figures prominently in the Phillies future plans.
Suddenly this spring, Anderson is showing a new side to himself thanks to a new pitch. During the offseason, Anderson incorporated a cut fastball into his arsenal of weapons and it’s made a big difference.
Yes, spring training isn’t a great measuring stick, especially for a young pitcher who has struggled at the major league level. In three spring starts, he’s thrown 8 2/3 innings with 11 strikeouts and just one walk on his record. Anderson has allowed just one earned run this spring and has a 0.557 WHIP.
With the new pitch, Anderson has pretty much ditched his slider which just wasn’t getting the job done. The cutter is a much better compliment to his four-seam and his curveball.
While it’s good to see the improved repertoire from Anderson, who turns 25 later this month, there is still little opportunity for him to make the big league club out of spring training. The rotation appears set and there are just a couple decisions to be made about the bullpen, which will likely carry eight pitchers, and Anderson isn’t in any of those battles.
So, where does Anderson stand at this point? If – or let’s say when – the Phillies have an injury or a need for another starter, Anderson could now be in the mix. Enyel De Los Santos and Ranger Suarez may have a slight advantage over Anderson, but he’s now at least a consideration. He’s likely placed himself in front of left-hander Cole Irvin, who isn’t on the 40-man roster, while Anderson is, which gives him the advantage if he continues to throw as well as he has this spring.
The 40-man roster situation is difficult for the Phillies and they may continue to hold off on adding Irvin. Anderson also has likely taken himself off of the list of potential cuts from the 40-man.
It remains to be seen just how effective Anderson will be when he pitches out of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley rotation. If his success continues into the regular season, he could have well made himself relevant again in the discussion about the Phillies pitching staff in the future.