Ian Anderson Continues Rapid Ascent
More than a few teams inquired about 2016 first-round righthander Ian Anderson while dangling major league players who could have resulted in more immediate gratification for the playoff-hungry Braves.
Instead, the deep Atlanta farm system remained relatively intact after the July 31 trade deadline passed. That included Anderson, who remained at high Class A Florida, where he had logged a 1.78 ERA in 16 starts since May 1.
Overall, the 20-year-old Anderson had allowed just 73 hits in 100 innings while striking out 118 and walking 40. Florida State League opponents hit just .198.
The third overall pick in 2016, Anderson was drafted out of high school in Clifton Park, N.Y., and has made rapid progress in pro ball. The Braves continue to monitor his workload after capping him at 83 innings last year at low Class A Rome.
"Ian was a high school draft for us out of the Northeast,” field coordinator Dave Trembley said. "He’s pitching at a very advanced level as a high school player. He’s been on that fast track that the Braves have done with all our young pitchers."
"It’s not just their ability," Trembley said. "These guys have tremendous confidence, great mound presence, and I think that’s the thing that really stands out about Ian. He has great mound presence as well as really electric stuff and sound mechanics.”
Anderson’s fastball continues to reside in the 92-94 mph range while topping out at 96. He mixes it with a plus overhand curveball that breaks straight down. According to Trembley, the key to Anderson’s continued ascent has been his improved changeup.
"We’re working on his changeup to go with his really explosive fastball, and his curveball has always been a plus,” Trembley said. "Right now, he needs to get reps and experience under his belt. We really don’t look at the stats as much as we look at the process, and everybody is very pleased with Ian.”
Young Outfield Duo Gives Braves Options
Top prospects Cristian Pache and Drew Waters could form two-thirds of the Braves' outfield of the future.
** The Braves promoted center fielder Drew Waters from Rome to Florida for the final month of the season. The 2017 second-rounder led the South Atlantic League with 32 doubles at the time of his promotion, while his .303 average and .513 slugging percentage ranked among the top four.
** The Braves called up 22-year-old righthander Touki Toussaint after he aced his first test at Triple-A Gwinnett. He went 2-0, 2.01 in five starts while striking out 32 in 31.1 innings after recording a 2.93 ERA in 16 starts at Double-A Mississippi.