- Full name Wes Anderson
- Profile Throws: R
Organization Prospect Rankings
Once considered among the jewels of the Marlins system, Anderson has been on the slow road back from shoulder surgery in September 2001. Anderson had arthroscopic surgery to repair an 85 percent tear in his labrum and minor fraying in his rotator cuff. He made it back for four starts in the Gulf Coast League and saw limited action in instructional league last year. He still has his fluid delivery, once compared to that of John Smoltz, but his fastball topped out at 91 mph. That's still a few ticks down from the 94 mph he showed before surgery. Though given complete medical clearance, he threw relatively few sliders last year as he remained tentative on the mound. Anderson's slider was a plus pitch in the past, but he got by with his fastball and a solid changeup. Earnest and eager, he tends to put too much pressure on himself. If he continues to progress, he could start the year in high Class A and make it to Double-A at some point.
If not for Josh Beckett, Anderson would have topped this list last winter. Now he faces a long rehabilitation after undergoing arthroscopic surgery at season's end to repair an 85 percent tear in his labrum and minor fraying in his rotator cuff. Anderson was told not to throw for six months and most likely is looking at a midseason return at the earliest. The mannerly kid from rural Arkansas missed all but one inning over the final 31⁄2 months with a combination of back spasms and shoulder pain. Shoulder problems had landed Anderson on the disabled list for a month in each of the previous two seasons, but he traced the severe pain to late in the 2000 season. He underwent an MRI then that showed a minor labrum tear, and was shut down after one instructional league start. Dr. James Andrews recommended a course of rest and strengthening exercises in hopes that Anderson could avoid surgery. The shoulder was fine for his first trip to major league spring training but he began experiencing pain just before Opening Day. When Anderson's velocity dropped from its usual 91-94 mph range to as low as 84 mph, he knew something was wrong but thought he could pitch through what he believed to be a dead-arm period. The Marlins will be extremely patient with Anderson, who previously showed a plus slider and decent changeup.
Anderson was stolen in the 14th round in 1997 as teams thought he was headed to the University of Arkansas. He ranked No. 3 in the organization a year ago after ranking sixth following his 1998 debut. Even with Josh Beckett in hand, some still believe Anderson has the best fastball in the system. He pitches at 92-93 mph but has topped out at 97. He has a plus slider and an average changeup, though the slider came and went last year. His lanky frame and fluid delivery have drawn comparisons to John Smoltz. When he's on, Anderson can absolutely dominate opposing hitters and make it look easy. He's considered a future No. 1 or 2 starter. For the second straight season Anderson's shoulder wore down late, causing him to miss starts. Some felt he kept quiet and tried to pitch through pain to prove he's not soft, but he was told that's the wrong approach. Anderson is a classic worrier and honestly doesn't seem to grasp his talent. He could use a little of Beckett's swagger. Anderson should start the year at Double-A Portland, where he must prove he can stay healthy and pitch with more bravado. The stuff is there. It's the rest of the package that needs work.
Background: The Marlins stole Anderson in the 1997 draft as other teams backed off, thinking he was headed to college at Arkansas. He signed late and made just 11 Rookie-level Gulf Coast League starts in '97. Strengths: Anderson has the best fastball in the system. He pitches at 92-93 mph and has topped out at 97 with late life. He has a plus slider and an average to above-average changeup. His lanky frame and fluid delivery have drawn comparisons to John Smoltz. Anderson is so smooth, at times looks to be pitching in slow motion. Weaknesses: A minor bout with shoulder tendinitis caused Anderson to miss several starts, but he came back to finish the year with two dominant showings. His intelligence can be a detriment at times as he overanalyzes situations and tends to try to be too perfect. The Future: Anderson will start 2000 at Brevard County but could move up to Double-A by midseason if he continues to make hitters look silly.
Background: Anderson slipped all the way to the 14th round of the 1997 draft because of signability questions. The Marlins gave him a six-figure bonus on the eve of his enrollment at the University of Arkansas, and Anderson did not make his professional debut until last season. Some in the Marlins organization compare him to a young Kevin Brown. Strengths: Anderson features a fastball that has touched 97 mph, an average to above-average slider and a still-developing changeup. Like Burnett, he is a fierce competitor with a live, loose arm and a free and easy delivery. Anderson's two-seamer has good sink and boring action. His ball seems to explode on hitters. Weaknesses: Simply the inconsistency that comes with inexperience. His changeup needs work and he still needs to add strength to his lanky frame. The Future: Anderson will likely begin his second pro season in the Midwest League. If he dominates there the way fellow Arkansas high school product Burnett did in 1997, he might not be far behind him in the race to the big league rotation.