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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Jason Anderson

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 6/9/79, Age: 23, Height: 6’0’’, Weight: 170, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Yankees - Drafted in the 10th Round of the 2000 Draft (U. of Illinois). 2001 Stats: (Sseason-A - Staten Island) 5-1, 1.70 ERA, 48 IP, 32 H, 12 BB, 56 K; (Low-A - Greensboro) 7-9, 1 SV, 3.76 ERA, 124 IP, 127 H, 40 BB, 101 K. 2002 Stats: (High-A - Tampa) 4-2, 1 SV, 4.07 ERA, 24 IP, 27 H, 2 HR, 3 BB, 22 K; (AA - Norwich) 1-1, 2 SV, 0.93 ERA, 19 IP, 14 H, 1 HR, 5 BB, 21 K; (AAA - Columbus) 5-1, 7 SV, 3.15 ERA, 34 IP, 26 H, 3 HR, 11 BB, 28 K.
   With the emergence of the “no-names” in the Anaheim bullpen this postseason, a lot of people are looking for next year’s emerging relief prospects. Jason Anderson of the Yankees is one name that is already being bandied about as a big “sleeper reliever” for next season. After battling through his first season as a slightly above average starting pitcher, Anderson was sent to the bullpen in 2002. By the end of the season, he had traveled all the way to AAA, posting fairly impressive statistics to go along with a few extra mph on his fastball from his starting days. Anderson throws a fastball/slider combo, with the fastball coming in the 95-96 range consistently when he only has to throw an inning or two. The slider is still inconsistent, but it has the makings of a pitch that will be devastating to right-handed hitters. His numbers for the whole year (including three stops) were: 77 IP, 67 H, 6 HR, 19 BB, 71 K. That is a fairly effective year at one stop, let alone three stops in only your second professional season. His control has been solid, with less than 3 BB/9 at each level. He did allow a few long balls, but not more than you would expect given the quality of his control. I am not sure that he is “majors ready” just yet, but he is fairly close. With the amount of innings that he is used to throwing as a starter, 60-90 relief innings shouldn’t present too much of a workload for his arm. He appears to be a reasonable relief prospect, if there is such a thing.
    The problem with finding sleepers in the bullpen is that the question is rarely one of talent, but instead one of opportunity. Teams that are willing to throw a number of unproven pitchers out there to “see what they can do” in different situations will likely be rewarded with a player or two that may have otherwise slipped under the radar. The Yankees are generally not one of those teams, as witnessed by their treatment of Ryan Bradley in the recent past, and their well-known affinity for acquiring the Steve Karsay’s and Mike Stanton’s of the world at significant cost. Unfortunately for Jason Anderson, there are a number of players like him (good fastball, fair breaking pitch, former starter, modest success in short pro career) around, and as mentioned, the Yankees are partial to their veteran presences in the pen. With the bullpen core of Rivera, Stanton, Karsay, and Mendoza likely to return, only a few slots will be open for competition in the spring. Anderson would probably have to pitch lights out in Florida to get a spot, so he will likely be back in Columbus to start the year. He might be first in line for a call-up if a place opens, but chances are it will involve low leverage work to start with. With the small sample sizes of relievers, it is tougher than normal to project how they might turn out, but Anderson seems to be like any number of pitchers out there, from Guillermo Mota to Felix Rodriguez. Sometimes guys like that can flesh out a good career, and sometimes they cannot. I think Anderson will get a chance, possibly as soon as next summer, but the Yankees don’t have much patience, so his initial impression on them will be crucial. He strikes me as a guy who could be a good setup man against righthanders, because of his limited repertoire. With the Yanks, however, it is more likely that he will end up a long reliever or middle man, that is to say, not a critical member of a bullpen committee, but more of an eighth or ninth member of the staff.


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