Can Youngster Justin Anderson Make Impact for LA Angels?
By Vincent Page
The LA Angels made plenty of upgrades this offseason, but mostly avoided the bullpen. Apart from a couple small additions, it will be the same group. However. who in the world is this Justin Anderson kid?
Justin Anderson was the LA Angels 14th round selection in 2014. He does not rank within the Halos Top 25 prospects, nor does he probably crack the Top 50. The most success he has found so far in his career was in 2015, when he posted a 3.41 ERA over 28 games in Single-A.
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That was, before this year’s Spring Training. Anderson came into Tempe, Arizona and quite simply made a name for himself. Sure, with so much focus on Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and other new arrivals and returning stars, no one noticed. In seven innings pitched over six games, Anderson allowed no earned runs while striking out seven. He also held opposing batters to a .125 batting average.
However, they may soon hear the name Justin Anderson in Anaheim.
Anderson has a very simply pitching style. He has a fastball that sits in the low 90’s. His two primary breaking balls both have solid movement with a good tilt on his slider and solid velocity with his change-up.
Anderson’s best attribute is his command. While his velocity and movement with his pitches are good, his ability to place pitches wherever he pleases is extremely valuable. His delivery, including a double tap with his glove, is quick and deceptive and allows the ball to pop out faster than it actually travels.
Anderson also possesses a great frame. He has solid durability and stamina, which could allow him to be a back-of-rotation innings eater at the very least. He could also project well as a long reliever, whichever role the team needs him to fill.
Next: Matt Thaiss Impresses in First Spring Training
While no one noticed Anderson’s phenomenal Spring Training, he is the type of player who will go on to have a solid and undervalued playing career. The only question now is if this Spring Training was a blip on the radar, or if this is a sign of things to come for Justin Anderson.