When Justin Anderson made his MLB debut for the Los Angeles Angels in 2018, it looked like he'd be a fixture in the Angels bullpen for years to come. He worked his way up to a set-up role, racking up 22 holds and four saves with just two blown saves. Yes, command was an obvious issue, but his stuff was great and he was reliable enough out of the bullpen for the Angels to be seen as a big piece.
The right-hander failed to replicate his solid rookie season, as he posted a 5.55 ERA in 54 appearances in 2019. Command continued to fail him and his stuff appeared to be a bit more hittable. 2019 is the last time we've seen him in the majors.
Injuries have derailed Anderson's career since his days with the Angels. He missed the entire 2020 season and was non-tendered that offseason. He's spent the last three seasons with the Rangers and Royals organizations respectively, making a combined 40 appearances. 24 of which came in 2023.
Now, fully healthy, Anderson has signed another minor league deal, this time with the White Sox. He hopes to get back to the majors.
Former LA Angels reliever earns another opportunity to try and get back to the majors
Anderson's odds are obviously stacked against him. Now 31 years old and coming off a slew of injuries, Anderson is nowhere near the pitcher he was in 2018. This past season he made appearances in three different levels of the minors and posted a 6.87 ERA in 36.2 innings pitched. 12 of his appearances came in Rookie Ball, but his ERA sat at 7.64.
Anderson did look better to finish out his season, posting an ERA of 2.12 in his final 10 appearances and 0.63 in his last eight outings. Perhaps what was most encouraging was his command, as he issued just two walks in his final eight outings to go along with 12 strikeouts in 14.1 innings pitched. Small sample, obviously, but signs of improvement were certainly there
Joining the White Sox on a minor league deal gives Anderson a chance to potentially make the jump back to the majors. Chicago is obviously nowhere near competing, and has a bullpen with some vacancies. He'll have some work to do just to get even get on their 40-man roster, but he's always had the stuff to stick. It all comes down to health and command.