Pirates Free Agent Target: Brett Anderson
This offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates need to add at least two starting pitchers, and free agent Brett Anderson is someone who fits their mold.
PNC Park is a left-handed pitcher’s haven. Due to this, left-handed pitcher Brett Anderson is a free agent that the Pirates should pursue this offseason. Additionally, Anderson also fits the Pirates’ pitching mold.
In 2016 Brett Anderson pitched in just 11 1/3 innings due to having back surgery. All of these innings came in the month of September when he made three starts and one relief appearance. And, unfortunately for Anderson, injuries have always plagued him.
In his rookie season of 2009 he pitched 175 1/3 innings. However, since then he has only topped 100 innings pitched twice. In 2010 he pitched 112 1/3 innings and then in 2015 he pitched 180 1/3 innings.
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When Anderson has been healthy he has been a good Major League starting pitcher. In 115 career starts Brett Anderson has pitched 685 2/3 innings. Anderson owns a 3.86 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 3.55 xFIP, and a strong 58.2 percent ground ball rate in those 685 2/3 innings pitched.
Additionally, Brett Anderson does not walk many batters or allow a lot of home runs. For his career he averaged just 2.40 BB/9 and he allows just 0.83 HR/9. His career 16.7 percent line drive rate is also outstanding.
Due to his strong ground ball numbers, Brett Anderson is a pitcher that fits the Pirates’ mold. The Pirates’ pitching philosophy is to induce weak contact and ground balls. That is exactly what Brett Anderson does best.
His 2017 Steamers Projections are favorable. They project Anderson to average 2.76 B/9, 0.83 HR/9, and a 56.8 percent ground ball rate. Furthermore, he is projected to finish 2017 with a 3.93 ERA and a 3.98 FIP.
Odds are, Brett Anderson will take a one-year deal this offseason. After what happened in 2016 Anderson will likely want to take a one-year deal to rebuild his value. So the price tag on Anderson should not be very high this offseason.
While Brett Anderson is not a top of the rotation starting pitcher, the Pirates do not need that. The Pirates already have two such pitchers in Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. But Anderson could slot in ahead of Chad Kuhl as the Pirates’ fourth starting pitcher, leaving the team in need of just one more middle of the rotation starting pitcher.