Even some of the game's best pitchers need an outing or two to adjust to a new level, and Ian Anderson was no different. On Sunday night, he found his footing in the Southern League.Atlanta's No. 3 prospect gave up three hits and a walk while striking out nine over 6
Even some of the game's best pitchers need an outing or two to adjust to a new level, and Ian Anderson was no different. On Sunday night, he found his footing in the Southern League.Atlanta's No. 3 prospect gave up three hits and a walk while striking out nine over 6 2/3 innings for his first Double-A win as Mississippi blanked Biloxi, 2-0, at Trustmark Park.
Anderson struck out five of the first eight batters he faced and attributed his early spark to the confidence he built during his bullpens the last five days, recovering from a rough second start with the Braves on Aug. 21 in which he gave up five hits and four runs in 2 2/3 innings against the BayBears.
"Throwing here just comes down to making more quality pitches, and you're not going to get away with nearly as many mistakes as you move up," he said. "You've always got to make quality pitches, and guys aren't going to chase as much, so you've got to get guys out throwing in the zone."
In his third start since being promoted from Class A Advanced Florida on Aug. 8, Anderson (1-1) struck out second-ranked Brewers prospect Corey Ray and Tyler Heineman while working around a double by Troy Stokes Jr. in the first inning. In the second, he gave up a bunt single to Trent Grisham, but fanned Blake Allemand, Weston Wilson and Luis Aviles Jr.
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The right-hander mowed down 15 consecutive Shuckers, getting pitcher Marcos Diplan looking for his sixth strikeout to start the third and punching out Grisham and Aviles in the fifth.
"It's a blast out there when everything seems to be going your way," Anderson said. "It's fun, like whatever you throw, they're not going to be able to hit it well or at all. That's a nice feeling to have to go with confidence and the full mix of my pitches."
After MLB.com's No. 39 overall prospect retired Stokes on a fly ball to center for the first out in the seventh, Heineman ended the run by beating out an infield single. Anderson got Allemand to ground out, then walked Grisham on his 97th pitch to end his night.
With Anderson closing in on his second full professional season, he said the promotion to Double-A did wonders for his confidence and how he grades his 2018 campaign. After logging 100 innings with the Fire Frogs earlier this year while compiling a 2.52 ERA, he said it helped prove to himself that he has what it takes to continue moving up the Braves system in 2019 and beyond.
"The promotion was huge. I had a good season last year, but I took another step this year," he said. "All I'm looking to do is get better each year, just little by little, and just keep pitching and getting innings and experience. But this was definitely a nice bump."
Thomas Burrows worked 1 1/3 hitless frames and Jason Hursh followed with a perfect ninth for his seventh Southern League save.
Tyler Neslony kicked off five consecutive hits for the Braves with a leadoff double in the fourth. After Travis Demeritte's infield hit, Tyler Marlette singled home Neslony and Jonathan Morales legged out an infield single that plated Demeritte.
Diplan (2-5), Milwaukee's No. 12 prospect, gave up both runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts in six innings.
Nathan Brown is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @NathanBrownNYC.