Before yesterday’s 5-3 loss to the Dodgers, Craig Counsell told reporters that the starter for Saturday’s game would be someone already on the roster and that Chase Anderson would be featured heavily. After his team was defeated, Counsell officially confirmed that Anderson would be the starter against the Dodgers on 4/20.
Chase Anderson officially starting tomorrow, per Counsell.— Jaymes L (@JaymesL) April 20, 2019
Anderson was the Opening Day starter for Milwaukee’s Best in 2018, but he was booted from the rotation by the time the playoffs rolled around. His 3.93 ERA across 158.0 innings looked solid enough, but Counsell and the front office lost confidence in Anderson as he displayed diminished velocity from his breakout 2017 and was plagued by problems with the home run ball. An NL-leading 30 dingers, along with marks of 7.29 K/9 and 3.25 BB/9 (from 8.74 and 2.61 in 2017), added up to a 5.22 FIP and 5.52 DRA, both more than 20% worse than the league average.
Anderson lost out on a rotation spot this spring when it was determined that the Brewers would start the year with all three of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta in the starting five. He’s been working out of the bullpen and, perhaps predictably, has found the velocity he had in 2017 while airing it out in shorter stints. He’s essentially shelved his sinker (1.8% usage) while more than doubling the use of his cutter, which now sits at 20.3%. He’s also toned down his curveball a little while throwing his change a bit more often. Chase’s 13.2% swinging-strike rate through five appearances and 10.0 innings is three points better than his previous career-best. The home run issues have persisted, though, with Anderson serving up three long balls (2.70 HR/9) so far. His ERA stands at 4.50 and his FIP reads 5.57.
Anderson said that he’s stretched out enough to go 5-6 innings, but he hasn’t thrown more than 43 pitches in a game since the start of the regular season three-plus weeks ago. So 3-4 innings may be more likely in his first start, depending on efficiency and effectiveness. Should Anderson remain in the rotation moving forward, though, it isn’t likely to take him long to get back up to a regular pitch count.
The team still needs a starter for Monday’s tilt to replace Corbin Burnes, but signs are pointing towards #15 prospect Adrian Houser getting the call-up and toeing the slab for the Menomonee Valley Nine.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus