Shaun Anderson Gains Starter Experience

Righthander Shaun Anderson possesses the classic mentality of a closer.

“It’s me versus the hitter,” the 22-year-old said. “I’m not going to give in. If you’re going to step in the box, there’s no mercy for you.”

That attitude served Anderson quite well as Florida’s closer in 2016, when he recorded 13 saves and an 0.97 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 46.1 innings.

However, Anderson isn’t a closer anymore. The Red Sox drafted him in the third round last year and converted him to a starter. The Giants acquired him in the Eduardo Nunez deal on July 26, and they plan to keep Anderson in the rotation.

Conventional wisdom dictates that a starter should be more even-keeled than a closer. It’s hard to maintain an amped-up presence for 100 pitches or more in a game.

Anderson clearly doesn’t believe in that conventional wisdom.

“When I was a reliever in college,” he said, “I came in with all this adrenaline, like, ‘Let’s go. There’s no way you’re even going to be able to touch the ball.’ . . .

“Going into starting, you can’t really change the mindset, like, ‘All right, maybe I’ll tone it down and step back for a little bit,’ because once you step back, you know this game’s going to hit you right in the face.”

General manager Bobby Evans discussed what made Anderson attractive to the Giants.

“We looked at a guy who had excellent mechanics, delivery (and) a four-pitch mix,” Evans said, adding that at 6-foot-4, Anderson has a “pretty ideal pitcher’s height.”

What Anderson lacks is experience as a starter. He made one start in 66 appearances over three seasons with the Gators. His longest outing was 3.1 innings.

After working four shutout innings in his first victory for the Giants’ high Class A San Jose affiliate on Aug. 4, Anderson had thrown a combined 104.2 innings this year, more than double his total with Florida and Boston’s short-season Lowell affiliate last year.

The Giants plan to limit Anderson’s innings for the rest of this season before giving him a longer leash as a starter next year.

Anderson enjoys being a starter, but simply getting on a major league mound is the goal.

“I want to pitch in the big leagues,” he said. “Whether that’s starting or relieving, I want to pitch and I want to dominate in the big leagues.”

Spoken like a true closer.

Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone