680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Over the last few years, there have been a number of highly anticipated Major League debuts from top prospects in the Braves organization. And tonight, fans get to see another one as 22 year old righty Ian Anderson will get the nod in the series opener with the Yankees tonight at Truist Park. Anderson, drafted third overall by the Braves in the 2016 Draft from Shenendehowa High School in Saratoga County, NY entered the 2020 season ranked as the top pitching prospect in the organization and the third best overall behind young outfielders Cristian Pache and Drew Waters.
Anderson has spent the last month at the team’s satellite training facility in Gwinnett, starting every five days in intrasquad scrimmages. Alex Anthopoulos and others have been paying close attention to the young righty’s progress after an impressive Spring and Summer Camp. Last season, Anderson opened the 2019 campaign at Double-A Mississippi, starting 21 games for the M-Braves before making the jump to Triple-A in early August. With the Stripers, Anderson started five games, posting a 6.57 ERA in Gwinnett. However, when you combine his numbers from both levels last season, the then-21 year old struck out 172 batters over 135.2 innings of work, which was the most he’s logged in four seasons of pro ball.
Tonight, Anderson joins fellow recent top prospects like Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Touki Toussaint and Kyle Wright who have worked their way through the Braves system and get a chance to debut at the highest level with quite a bit of fanfare. The team really needs somebody not named Soroka or Fried to take the opportunity and run with it as the club continues to piece together its starting rotation. To this point, neither Toussaint or Wright have been able to have sustained success. And in the last couple years, guys like Wilson, Allard and others have underachieved as they got their shot as highly regarded prospects on the mound. It’s a young and inexperienced rotation, so the club still needs to find ways to add at least one veteran starter to the mix. But for now, even more of the future will be on display as Anderson takes the Truist Park mound for the first time as a Big Leaguer tonight against a Bronx Bombers lineup that is bruised and battered, but should have Aaron Judge returning from the IL.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet