Every weekday for the next few weeks you'll find a look back at the 2014 season for one of the Indians or Indians prospects, as we sort out what happened and what it means for the franchise going forward.
- Position: RHP
- Age: 24
- Acquired: 14th round of 2011 draft
In 2013 Cody Anderson put up stellar numbers with Carolina before a late-season promotion to Akron, and was named Indians Minor League Pitcher of the Year. His performance had me bumping him up to only a touch behind Trevor Bauer among Tribe pitching prospects. What a difference a years makes. While Bauer returned to MLB and posted a solid (albeit inconsistent) season for such a young starter, Anderson had a very disappointing year in Double-A, and his stock has fallen quite a bit.
Anderson's fastball sits in the low 90s and sometimes reaches as high as 96 MPH. He also throws a curve, a cutter, and a changeup, with the curve being the best of that trio. I haven't seen anything reporting a drop in velocity or movement on his pitches in 2014, just in the results.
Anderson's ERA was an ugly 5.44, and his FIP of 4.99 was only a little better. At High-A in 2013 he struck out 8.2 per 9 innings with only 2.3 BB/9. In Double-A this season his K/9 dropped to 5.8, while the walks rose to 3.2. With almost exactly the same number of innings pitched, his home runs allowed rose from 6 in High-A to 17 this year. Anderson's first 6 starts this season weren't bad, as he put up a 3.13 ERA, but on May 7 he gave up 10 runs and from that point to the end of the season, his ERA was 6.22.
Anderson had pretty severe home/away and platoon splits.
In 11 road starts Anderson gave up only 3 home runs in 55.1 innings (and average of 0.5 per 9 innings) but in 14 home starts, he allowed 14 long balls in 70.1 innings (an average of 1.8 per 9 innings). His walk and strikeout rates were also better on the road, though not nearly as much so. Both those inning totals are small, so this could just be a sample-size issue, but the difference is pretty dramatic, and I'm not sure what would explain it (Akron's home ballpark isn't particularly homer prone).
Righties hit just .233/.297/.366 off Anderson; lefties hit .345/.409/.586 against him. In earlier seasons Anderson had shown very little platoon difference (in fact he he had a reverse split in 2013), so it's surprising to see such an extreme difference this year. It's far too early to give up on Anderson as a starter, but if his splits remain that far apart in 2015, he's going to start to feel like a possible bullpen arm instead.
2014 grade: D
I have to think Anderson is headed back to Akron, because there's nothing about his season that cries out (He needs tougher competition." (though if Akron's ballpark has some sort of voodoo hex on Anderson, they should promote him just for the change of scenery) He'll still be slightly below the league-average age, and maybe he'll make necessary adjustments and get himself back on track. Because the farm system is so thin on pitching talent right now, Anderson still probably merits mention as one of the better arms in the system, but it's a far cry from where he was 12 months ago.