Thursday, February 17, 2005

Ryan Anderson Report

Ryan Anderson, LHP, Seattle Mariners
Drafted 19th Overall, 1997 Draft, HS, Dearborn, MI
Bats L/Throws L
25 YO, 6'10", 225 lbs

3 shoulder surgeries have knocked him permanently off the prospect radar, but he's worth revisiting. He was drafted as a skyscraper of a pitcher with a lively mid 90's fastball and the beginnings of a nice slider. The comparisons to Randy Johnson were inescapable with him rushing up the minor league ladder all the way to AAA by his 21st birthday. He was ranked by Baseball America as Seattle's number one prospect for three strait season. At that point, the Mariners were making all the right noises, saying that they weren't going to rush him into the big team rotation, and that they were going to protect his arm. Then in spring training he went down with a shoulder injury later diagnosed as a labrum tear. Surgery insued, a year long recovery. Then before he threw another pitch, he reinjured the shoulder twice. That's where we stand today. The last time he threw a pitch in a competitive game, Bill Clinton was still the President.

2000 Tacoma: 3.98 ERA, 146 K, 55 BB, 83 H, 104 IP
Career: 3.94 ERA, 460 K, 208 BB, 300 H, 349 IP

It's easy to forget exactly how good his stuff was. That strikeout rate was evil. He was unhittable. Unfortunately, the same delivery that caused him to tear up his shoulder also hurt his control. I've heard speculation in several places that it's harder for very tall pitchers to have solid, consistent mechanics just because their arms and torsos are so much longer than your garden variety pitcher. My grasp of biology and physics is insufficient to confirm or deny that, but it makes sense to me. If you look at basketball players, huge players tend to be more Shawn Bradley than Yao Ming. They're usually gangly and uncoordinated. It makes sense that the same kind of challenges that plague those kinds of basketball players would have a corollary in freakishly tall baseball players.

There's still the possibility that Anderson will find himself on a major league roster some day. However, there's very little chance that he'll have anything resembling the electric stuff he had before his shoulder bought some orthopedic surgeon a new BMW M5. If he has even an average fastball, he could potentially be a second lefty in a major league bullpen. He'll get all the chances to come back that he can physically take.

ETA: ???
1 Star

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