After being a late entrant to the free-agent pool, SF Giants left-handed hurler Tyler Anderson is rumored to be drawing “significant interest.”
According to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network, former SF Giants swingman Tyler Anderson has a stout market as he enters free agency for the first time. In a mild surprise, the Giants decided to non-tender the lefty last week rather than pay him a modest raise from his $1.75 million salary in 2020 through arbitration.
The Giants acquired Anderson as a waiver claim from the Colorado Rockies last winter. The former first-round pick was set to go through arbitration, but after struggling mightily dealing with a knee injury that would cut his season short, the Rockies decided to designate him for assignment. While the Rockies were skeptical of his ability to bounce back to his pre-2019 form, the Giants were willing to bet on it.
In 2020, Anderson carved out a nice role in the Giants rotation on a team that nearly snuck into the playoffs with a 29-31 overall record. Anderson appeared in 13 games, including 11 starts, where he registered a 4.37 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 1.391 WHIP, and a 15.8 percent strikeout rate against a 9.6 percent walk rate across 59.2 frames.
On the surface, these numbers seemed good enough to warrant a second season in San Francisco, especially considering that the Giants still have a lot of work to do on the 2021 rotation. However, as our own Marc Delucchi wrote about, a dig beneath the hood reveals some concerning trends that I likely factored into their decision.
For starters, Anderson’s 90.2-MPH average fastball velocity was the lowest mark of his career and a pretty sizable dip from the 91.3-MPH mark he registered just in 2019. The drop in velocity could be a residual impact from the knee injury, but it is a concerning trend nonetheless.
Furthermore, Anderson’s 15.8 percent strikeout rate and 10.1 percent swinging-strike rate were also the lowest marks of his career. The lefty has never been one to rack up the strikeout totals, but relying too much on contact to generate outs is a tough way to be successful as a pitcher.
Speaking of contact, opposing hitters recorded a fly ball in 44.1 percent of batted ball events against Anderson. They had no problem lifting and elevating against a pitcher that really needs hitters to pound the ball into the ground. He was not getting that ideal type of contact in 2020.
Still, there’s no denying that he was effective for the Giants this season with some impressive outings, including a complete game. It’s worth pointing out that Anderson may have been a particular victim of the limited schedule by the COVID-19 pandemic as well.
At one point, he made three consecutive starts against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since he lacks the premium stuff to get by without deception, he could be more successful in a season where teams are playing against more opponents. Granted, it’s hard to believe that returning to normal travel is coming in 2021, given the state of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.
Nevertheless, it sounds as if the former Giants hurler Tyler Anderson will have no problem finding a new home, especially considering that he throws with his left arm. Even if he receives a raise from his 2020 salary, it could still be a good bargain and a solid value move for any prospective team.