Former Stillwater pitcher Brett Anderson made his second big league start for Oakland Wednesday, taking the loss against Boston.
He pitched much better than his debut (when he gave up five earned runs) throwing seven innings while allowing five hits and two earned runs. He struck out five, three more than his first start. One pitch got him in the most trouble, a two-run homer by Mike Lowell early in the game.
So after two starts, is Anderson ready for a full time gig in the show?
Probably not yet. The 21-year-old was dynamite in spring training, but he had just 19 starts between A-ball and Double-A last summer, in part because he was a member of Team USA and pitched in the Olympics.
Lefties also usually take longer to develop and while he has a lot more than a fastball in his arsenal of pitches, none of them could be considered finished products. Gutting it out in Triple-A games without the pressure of the big leagues has a way of smoothing out those edges.
But none of that means Anderson is going anywhere.
Since he’s already the top pitching prospect in the organization, there’s not much in the way of call ups threatening his spot, and No. 5 starter Josh Outman was even worse in his debut.
Justin Duchscherer could be back from elbow surgery by the middle of next month, but may be one bad toss away from the DL all season.
Anderson may not be ready, but it’s easy to see how Oakland could leave him in the rotation largely out of necessity. And even though he took another loss, he lasted three more innings, gave up three fewer runs while doubling his strikeouts in his second start. For a kid taking his first few steps as a pro, that’s no small thing.
ON EDIT: Thanks to the wonders of MLB TV I was able to watch each inning Anderson worked. Lost in the box score was his six consecutive ground ball outs and three strikeouts of JD Drew. He also got Big Papi once. People will focus on the loss, but Anderson actually looked pretty good overall. He was still hitting 93 mph with his fastball in the seventh.
*In the interest of full disclosure, Anderson is on my fantasy team.