I have been a Brett Anderson fan since his early minor league days. A pitcher with an extreme ground ball tendency that also has above average strikeout ability and possesses excellent control is a pitcher that will always excite me. Furthermore, that pitcher also made his home in an excellent environment, with his pitcher friendly home park and good defense behind him. Unfortunately, pitching for the Athletics and displaying an intriguing set of skills mattered little when he simply couldn’t stay on the field.
Check out his litany of injuries throughout his career. Since 2010, he has been placed on the DL seven times and dealt with four additional issues that didn’t end up requiring a DL stay. And since his rookie campaign in 2009, he has pitched just 494 innings, averaging a sad 82.1 innings a season. Adam Wainwright has thrown 468.2 innings in the last two years alone. It took Anderson six years to eclipse that total!
Unfortunately, most of the injuries that Anderson has suffered through have been of the persistent variety. His body just seems to be screaming at him to stop playing sports. And that means that we cannot possibly ever project him to enjoy a fully healthy season, or anywhere close to one.
But despite his inability to remain on the field, I have failed to quit him. When the Rockies traded for him a year ago, I was fairly certain that that was all I needed to move on to healthier pastures. It didn’t happen. While I didn’t actually own him on any fantasy teams, I still shared my enthusiasm by boldly predicting that he would throw 150 innings, earn both the most value among Rockies starters and positive value in 12-team mixed leagues. That didn’t happen of course, as he ended up throwing just 43.1 innings, but he continued to post strong skills.
But now I’m nervous:
The Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with left-hander Brett Anderson, with $4m in possible incentives.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 15, 2014
Uh oh, you know what this means? Quitting Brett Anderson will have to wait until at least 2016 now! Anderson departs a park that sported a Basic park factor of 117, easily tops in baseball, to one with a 96 factor. That’s actually similar to the park in Oakland, but now he pitches in a favorable park in the National League. Plus, the Dodgers infield defense should be pretty darn good, as all four infielders have sported UZR/150 marks well into positive territory in recent years.
Is there a situation Anderson could have found himself in much better than this? Perhaps not. If he’s healthy coming out of spring training, you better believe that he’s going to find his way onto every one of my teams. Unless of course, you’re in my league and beat me to the punch, assuming a snake draft format.
Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.