|Atlanta Braves – No. 36|
|Born: May 2, 1998|
Rexford, New York
|August 26, 2020, for the Atlanta Braves|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2021 season)
|Earned run average||3.25|
|Career highlights and awards|
Ian Theodore Anderson (born May 2, 1998) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). Anderson was selected by the Braves with the third overall pick of the 2016 MLB draft. He made his major league debut in 2020. Anderson won a World Series in 2021 as a member of the Atlanta Braves.
Anderson played in the 2013 14-and-under Babe Ruth League World Series in Moses Lake, Washington, with his team from Clifton Park, New York. Anderson's team finished third, and he was named to the all-defensive team as a pitcher. The squad was managed by Tom Huerter, father of teammate and future NBA player Kevin Huerter.
Anderson attended Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, New York. As a junior, he was 6–1 with a 0.66 earned run average (ERA) and 91 strikeouts. In August 2015, he played in Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park. That same summer, he played for the 18U National Team that won the World Cup. In 2016, he helped lead Shenendehowa to a Class AA state championship.
Anderson graduated from Shenendehowa in 2016. He committed to play college baseball at Vanderbilt.
Anderson was considered one of the top prospects in the 2016 MLB draft. To induce Anderson to forgo college baseball, the Atlanta Braves selected him with the third overall pick in the 2016 draft and signed him for $4 million.
Anderson made his professional debut with the GCL Braves and was promoted to the Danville Braves on August 6, 2016. He finished the 2016 season with a combined 1–2 record and 2.04 ERA in ten starts between both teams. In 2017, he played with the Rome Braves where he went 4–5 with a 3.14 ERA in 20 starts. He began 2018 with the Florida Fire Frogs and was promoted to the Mississippi Braves on August 8. In 24 starts between the two clubs, he was 4–7 with a 2.49 ERA.
Anderson was invited to spring training before the 2019 season began, and returned to Mississippi to start the year. At midseason, he was selected as a Southern League All-Star, then subsequently named to the 2019 All-Star Futures Game. On August 5, Anderson was promoted to the Gwinnett Stripers, and made his International League debut the next day. At the end of the season, Anderson won the Braves' organizational pitcher of the year award.
Anderson was invited to spring training in 2020. Following the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Atlanta Braves placed Anderson on its initial list of up to 60 players eligible to play for the team during the shortened Major League Baseball season. On August 26, 2020, Anderson was promoted to the major leagues for the first time, and his contract was selected to the active roster. He debuted in the first game of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees, going through the first 5+1⁄3 innings without yielding a hit. Anderson completed six innings, giving up one earned run on a home run by Luke Voit.
Anderson finished the 2020 season with a 3-2 record over 6 games started and 321⁄3 innings, posting a 1.95 ERA with 41 strikeouts, while giving up just 21 hits. He was fifth in the NL with 4 wild pitches. He relied mostly on his 95 mph fourseam fastball, 88 mph changeup, and 80 mph curveball, and only rarely threw a 92 mph sinker. Anderson received a single vote in National League Rookie of the Year voting, tying him for seventh place with Andrés Giménez and Sixto Sánchez.
On October 1, 2020, making his first postseason appearance, Anderson earned the win against the Cincinnati Reds, clinching the Wild Card Series for the Braves. He became the youngest pitcher in MLB postseason history to allow fewer than three hits while striking out nine while pitching at least six innings. In the NLDS game on October 7, Anderson threw 5.2 innings and got 9 strikeouts as the Braves beat the Miami Marlins 2-0.
In 2021, Anderson was 9–5 with a 3.58 ERA in 24 starts. He won a World Series ring as a member of the 2021 Atlanta Braves. Anderson threw five no-hit innings in Game 3 of the 2021 World Series, striking out four Houston Astros batters and walking three in a 2–0 win.
As a prospect, Anderson's pitches included a mid-90s fastball, plus curveball, and developing changeup. Anderson throws a 12–6 curveball with a low spin rate. In the minors, Anderson used his curveball more frequently against right-handed batters. By the time he reached the major leagues, Anderson's changeup had improved markedly. His arm angle has stood out to teammates, as it is higher than that of most pitchers.
Ian Anderson's identical twin brother, Ben Anderson, also played baseball for Shenendehowa and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 26th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Ben opted to attend Binghamton University, where he played baseball for three seasons before being drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 13th round of the 2019 Major League Baseball draft. Anderson also has a younger brother named Isaac.
His father, Bob Anderson, played college baseball at Siena and won multiple New York State championships as a coach at Schalmont High School.
It's a kid that's got some good ride on his fastball. His secondary pitches — changeup, curveball — they've got potential to be really good pitches.