After a rough start to the year, Ian Anderson finally had his curveball working last week. It turned out to be award-winning.Anderson struck out a career-high 11 batters over six scoreless frames on May 25 to secure his second win for Class A Rome, earning him the South Atlantic League
After a rough start to the year, Ian Anderson finally had his curveball working last week. It turned out to be award-winning.
Anderson struck out a career-high 11 batters over six scoreless frames on May 25 to secure his second win for Class A Rome, earning him the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week award. The righty allowed one hit, one walk and hit a batter in the Braves' 6-2 win over Augusta.
"Getting ahead for the most part and being able to put them away with the curveball was the biggest thing for me," the 19-year-old told MiLB.com. "Being able to throw it so that it looks like a strike and have it dive out of the zone, it was a big pitch for me and that all comes from getting ahead and attacking the hitters."
Anderson, ranked as the Braves' No. 3 prospect and No. 77 overall by MLB.com, said he tried to get ahead on batters in a start he entered with a 4.37 ERA. When he was finished, his ERA had dropped to 3.73.
• View the Player of the Week winners »
"I've been feeling good, but the results haven't been there," Anderson said. "[Rome pitching coach Dan Meyer] just told me, 'Keep grinding, keep going out there every fifth day and things will turn around.' It's great to have someone backing you up like that. It felt great to go out there and show what I can do."
Anderson was Atlanta's first-round pick in last year's Draft, going No. 3 overall out of Shenendehowa High School in upstate New York. He appeared in 10 games last season, finishing 1-2 with a 2.04 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings for Rookie-level affiliates in Danville and the Gulf Coast League.
This year has been an up-and-down journey. After finishing April with a 2-1 mark and a sharp 1.93 ERA, things turned in May. Anderson carried a 6.88 ERA in his four previous May outings into his most recent start.
"I've just got to keep doing what I was doing -- stay in the rhythm, stay in the groove and just kind of trust my stuff," Anderson said after the victory.
His 11 strikeouts was easily a career best -- he whiffed eight on two occasions this year after recording a season-high six on July 30, 2016.
Below is a full list of the Minor League Pitchers of the Week for May 22-28: