Tyler Anderson remains unimpressive even after quality start

Los Angeles Angels v Cleveland Guardians
Los Angeles Angels v Cleveland Guardians / Ron Schwane/GettyImages

The Tyler Anderson signing was the Los Angeles Angels' most expensive move of the offseason. The Angels gave him a three-year deal worth $39 million following his career year pitching for the Dodgers.

At the time I thought this was incredible value. $13 million annually for a pitcher who was as good as Anderson was last season seemed incredible. I didn't expect him to repeat what he did, and I don't think the Angels did either, but Anderson has been mostly unimpressive so far as an Angel.

LA Angels pitcher Tyler Anderson remains unimpressive even after quality start in Cleveland

Anderson's Angels career got off to a good start as he delivered six shutout innings in Oakland in the third game of the season. He looked in control most of the afternoon, and even though it's just Oakland, he pitched well. Since that start, things have been very mixed for Anderson.

The southpaw had a three-start stretch in which he allowed 17 runs (16 earned) in just 14 innings of work against the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Royals. He allowed five home runs and six walks over those three starts. After four starts, including the A's start, his ERA sat at 7.20.

Things have been a bit better since. He pitched 6.2 solid innings in Milwaukee allowing just one run in what later on was a loss. He then battled to get through five innings against the Rangers and allow three runs (two earned). His last time out felt like more of the same. A constant battle, but he limited the Guardians to three runs over six innings.

Most of the time allowing three runs or fewer as a starting pitcher is good enough, especially when you give length. In four of his seven starts, Anderson has allowed three runs or fewer. In three of his seven starts he's gone six innings or more. Those starts are very worth the $13 million price tag. The problem is, he just doesn't appear to be the same guy he's always been.

Even before last season, Anderson had pretty good command. He walked just 1.7 batters per nine last season which was a key part of his success. In 2021 he wasn't nearly as good, but Anderson was able to eat innings largely because he walked just 2.0 batters per nine. This season, that number is at 4.5 BB/9.

Anderson does not have the best stuff in the world. He won't overpower you, and won't strike many guys out. He has just 25 strikeouts in 37.2 innings pitched this season. What he's supposed to do is limit hard contact and throw strikes. He's been better at limiting the hard contact of late and has allowed just one home run in his last four starts after allowing five combined to Toronto and Boston. The walks, however, remain a glaring issue.

Anderson has issued 19 walks this season. He walked just 34 batters all of last season. He's walked two or more batters in six of his seven starts. He's walked at least three batters in each of his last three starts and in four of his last five.

Yesterday in Cleveland Anderson faced an underperforming lineup. Jose Ramirez is obviously a superstar, but the Guardians are last in all of baseball in runs scored and last in home runs. He still walked three batters and allowed six hits in his six innings. Three runs in six innings is a quality start by definition, but he just didn't look great to me.

The veteran left-hander has done a nice job limiting the damage in his last three starts, but you can only play with fire for so long. Anderson has to revert back to the pitcher he was. He doesn't have to give the Angels all-star production, but he has to be better than he has been. He has a 5.26 ERA and is walking 4.5 batters per nine. He must get back to throwing strikes and trusting his stuff to generate weak contact.

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