Discouraging sign #1: Tyler Anderson's struggles are worrisome
The one game the Angels lost this weekend came in Tyler Anderson's fourth start as an Angel. The first one went great, but the next two were awful. This start I felt was one Anderson could bounce back with, but it went just as poorly as the previous two despite facing an offense as weak as Kansas City's.
Anderson allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits in 5.1 innings with just one strikeout. The encouraging signs from his start were he did not walk a batter and he did not give up a home run. The discouraging signs from his start were just about everything else.
Anderson was allowing hard contact all night long. He allowed eight batted balls to be hit at over 95 mph including three hit over 100 mph. Fortunately two of those three batted balls found gloves, but Anderson is supposed to thrive on soft contact.
Last season, Anderson ranked in the 98th percentile in average exit velocity, the 98th percentile in hard-hit rate, and the 86th percentile in barrel % according to baseball savant. This season, he's in the 75th percentile in average exit velocity, the 61st percentile in hard-hit rate, and the 36th percentile in barrel %. Those are massive dips.
Anderson only has 11 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched. He wasn't a strikeout guy last season, but was allowing a ton of soft contact. Anderson must get back to that to be successful. Jose Quijada blew it late, but he's been terrific all season aside from that. Anderson has a 7.20 ERA in four starts. The Angels prize free agent acquisition of this past offseason must get it together.