Ian Anderson didn't think he had a no-hitter going for Class A Advanced Florida last Wednesday, until he did. Even when he combined with relievers Justin Kelly and Brandon S. White to throw 10 hitless innings, the Fire Frogs still hadn't technically finished off the feat. (They eventually lost, 6-3, to Charlotte in 12 frames.) Regardless, he now has an award to show for his nearly special outing.
The Braves' No. 3 prospect has been named Florida State League Pitcher of the Week after striking out five and allowing just one walk over 7 1/3 innings last week. It's the third career Pitcher of the Week honor for Anderson, who most recently won it July 9 with the Fire Frogs.
Anderson's no-hit attempt almost ended when Charlotte shortstop Lucius Fox reached base to begin the fourth frame. The single got changed to an error by Braxton Davidson at first base instead, and the first official Stone Crabs hit didn't come until Kevin Padlo doubled to lead off the 11th. The Florida starter exited after walking Padlo with two outs in the eighth -- his only free pass of the evening -- and having thrown exactly 100 pitches, 66 of which were strikes.
• View the Offensive Player of the Week winners »
The 7 2/3 innings marked the longest outing of Anderson's career, and it was also just the second time in 49 professional starts that his pitch count touched triple digits.
"It was fun out there, even if the result wasn't what we wanted," Anderson told MiLB.com's Michael Avallone after the outing. "I seemed to have all three pitches working, which is good because they're a very good-hitting ballclub which was aggressive. I almost gave them what they wanted, in a way, but they were getting themselves out early in the count."
As rare as the start was in terms of length, it was the latest in a string of impressive performances on the mound for the 2016 second overall pick. Since July 1, Anderson has a 0.61 ERA with 37 strikeouts and only five walks in five starts (29 2/3 innings). He's held opposing batters to a .124 batting average over that time, and none of the 13 hits he's allowed have gone for extra bases. His 0.61 WHIP over that time is second-lowest among qualified full-season Minor League pitchers, trailing only Erick Leal's 0.51 over 27 2/3 innings for Myrtle Beach.
MLB.com's No. 39 overall prospect has long shown plus potential with his low-90s fastball that can come right on top of hitters and keep them from hitting the ball in the air with any regularity. But his curveball and changeup have become above-average offerings as well, and that's helped him surge up the rankings in his second full season.
"The development of my off-speed stuff and being able to throw it early and when behind in the count has been huge," Anderson told MiLB.com last week. "I still pitch off my fastball, but planting that change of speed in the hitter's mind has really helped me."
Anderson, who is scheduled to start for Florida at home against Palm Beach on Monday night, leads the FSL with 113 strikeouts and a 28.9 percent K rate this season while ranking second with his 2.57 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Also impressive are his 94 2/3 innings, which already mark a jump from his 83 frames at Class A Rome in 2017. The Braves took it easy with the upstate New York native in his first pro summer but are allowing him to work deeper and deeper in 2018, and the 20-year-old has only improved with the more rope he's been given.
"I think I did a little better preparing myself," he said last week. "Last year was a great learning experience. I would have loved to eat more innings than I did, but it is what it is. I learned a lot and prepared my body the best way possible. I'm feeling great and looking forward to ending the season strong during these last three or four starts."
Below is the complete list of Minor League Pitchers of the Week for July 30-Aug. 6:
||1-0, 0.60 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 15 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 14 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 SHO, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
||1-0, 1.29 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 HBP, 1 BB, 13 K
||1-1, 0.64 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 14 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
||0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
||0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 17 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
||0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 SHO, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 K
||2-0, 0.71 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 2/3 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 13 K