With Derek Holland demoted to the bullpen, Dereck Rodriguez optioned to Triple-A, and Drew Pomeranz battling a strained lat, the door has swung open for San Francisco Giants prospect Shaun Anderson.
The San Francisco Giants farm system is not exactly loaded with top-tier talent, especially on the pitching side of things.
However, heading into the season, MLB.com ranked right-hander Shaun Anderson as the team’s top pitching prospect and No. 4 overall in the system.
With the entire starting rotation in flux behind veterans Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija, Anderson will make his MLB debut on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old was a third-round pick by the Boston Red Sox in 2016 out of the University of Florida. The Giants acquired him at the deadline the following year in the deal that sent infielder Eduardo Nunez to Boston.
After flying through the lower levels of the minors, Anderson didn’t miss a beat against tougher competition last season, posting a 3.69 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with 127 strikeouts in 141.1 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
He returned to Triple-A to start the 2019 season and he has been solid amid an offensive explosion across the Triple-A landscape, posting a 4.11 ERA and 1.29 WHIP while showing a nice uptick in his strikeout rate from 8.1 to 9.5 K/9.
MLB.com offered up the following scouting report at the start of the season:
"“Though he was stuck in the bullpen in college, Anderson has a mix of five effective pitches. He gets a lot of groundouts with his fastball, which sits at 91-94 mph and peaks at 96 with impressive sink and angle. His best secondary offering is a late-breaking mid-80s slider than he can turn into a upper-80s cutter when he wants.Anderson also has a sinking, fading changeup that counteracts left-handers and a curveball to give hitters a softer, different look. Though he doesn’t have a true plus pitch, he throws strikes with everything in his solid arsenal. Add in his strong makeup and San Francisco thinks it has the making of a mid-rotation starter.”"
In his most recent start, Anderson allowed five hits and three earned runs in 5.1 innings against the Washington Nationals Triple-A affiliate. It was the fourth straight start he pitched into the sixth inning.
Given his high floor and overall polish, it’s not out of the question to think that Anderson could be up for good if he pitches well on Wednesday.
Veterans Derek Holland and Drew Pomeranz were little more than place-holders on the staff, and they won’t stand in the way of someone who has a chance to be a major piece of the future.
There’s an open spot on the 40-man roster after catcher Erik Kratz was designated for assignment on Monday so the Giants won’t need to make a corresponding move. They will need to create space on the active roster, though.
The 2019 season is going to be largely about building toward the future for the San Francisco Giants, and a potentially big part of that future arrives on Wednesday.
We’ll have plenty of analysis on the other end of his MLB debut, so be sure to check back here tomorrow evening.