It’s a simple statement to make; Tyler Anderson has to be sent down to the minors. It’s not wild and it’s not crazy or even a hot take or bold statement. It’s the right choice for both him and the Rockies right now.

Anderson was drafted 20th overall in the 2011 MLB draft. After compiling a 25-12 record with a 2.38 ERA in the minor leagues, Anderson’s future with the organization was bright. The hard work and commitment to the craft finally paid off when last June, he received the call to join the major league ballclub.

Anderson started 19 games for the Rockies over the course of the partial 2016 season, finishing at 5-6 with a 3.54 ERA. During those 19 games Anderson showed flashes and glimpses of dominant stuff, often leaving hitters guessing what he was going to throw next. Of the 19 games started, advanced statistics credit Anderson with 12 Quality Starts (min. 6 inning pitched, 3 earned runs max). When the team headed into the winter of 2016, Anderson had shown why he was talked about as part of the future of pitching in Colorado.

Enter 2017 and the potential to build off of 2016’s success for Anderson and the Rockies. Bud Black stuck with Anderson, making him the teams number two starter behind ace Jon Gray. The club needed a lefty that relied on accuracy more than power pitching to slot behind Jon Gray. Anderson was brining solid stats and experience with him to try and improve upon his numbers from 2016.

In his 11 starts this season, Anderson is 3-5 with a 5.85 ERA, registering only three quality starts. Teams aren’t just scoring more runs either, stats against Anderson have risen across the board.

Statistic 2016 2017
Batting Average .272 .291
WHIP (Walks+Hits per inning pitched) 1.29 1.48
OBP (On Base Percentage) .318 .351
SLG (Slugging Percentage) .423 .553
BB/9 (Walks per Nine Innings) 2.20 3.00
HR/9 (Home Runs per Nine Innings) 0.94 1.95

 

Eleven starts are enough of a sample size to see that Anderson is not the same pitcher he was last season. The stat that jumps out the most has to be the HR/9, increasing by one full percentage point to nearly 2.00 per nine innings. This stat tells us that hitters are squaring him up at a higher rate than last season, resulting in better results. Anderson has never been a power pitcher, instead relying on pitch placement and movement. This style of pitching could also be the result of his BB/9 increasing by almost a percentage point. Could something be wrong with his mechanics?

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Anderson has always had a funky motion from the mound, so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where in the motion something is off. Though he has shown improvement from April to May, he has still lacked the consistency needed to succeed. The team does have a viable substitute in Jeff Hoffman, who has been lights out in spot starts this year.

The Rockies continue to look like contenders, holding down first place in the division at the start of play today. The rest of this season and beyond need to be in the eyes of the organization, sending Anderson down now will help with that future.

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