Wednesday night the San Francisco Giants nom-tendered a starting pitcher that the Pittsburgh Pirates should now consider pursuing in free agency
As the MLB Winter Meetings loom, general manager Ben Cherington will be on a mission for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Part of this mission will be addressing the starting rotation. Trevor Williams has already been desiganted for assignment, and Joe Musgrove and Steven Brault appear likely to be traded.
Even if Musgrove and Brault are not both traded, the Pittsburgh Pirates will need starting rotation help for 2021. If they are both traded, then this need just multiplies. One new member to the free agent starting pitching market that could help the Pirates in 2021 is left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson.
Anderson is coming off a 2020 season in which he logged 59.2 innings pitched in 13 games, 11 starts, with the San Francisco Giants. The lefty posted a 4.37 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 0.75 HR/9, 9.6% walk rate, and a 15.8% strikeout rate with the Giants in 2020.
In his MLB career Anderson has pitched in 456.2 innings in 86 games pitched, with 82 of these 86 games being starts. Anderson has pitched to the tune of a 4.65 ERA, 4.46 FIP, 1.40 HR/9, 7.7% walk rate, and a 21.0% strikeout rate in his career.
Anderson did not become a free agent until Wednesday night. He became a free agent when the Giants decided to not tender him a contract for the 2021 season. To be honest, this move came as a bit of a surprise, especially for a Giants team in need of starting pitching help.
During the 2020 season Anderson limited opposing batters to a 31.1% hard hit rate, this was 3.8% better than MLB average and in the 85th percentile of baseball. Opposing batters had an exit velocity of 86.8 MPH off of Anderson. Again, this was better than MLB average while being in the 77th percentile of baseball.
Career wise, Anderson’s contact rate are also strong. His lifetime 30.1% hard hit rate is 4.5% better than MLB average and his 86.6 MPH exit velocity is nearly 2.0 MPH better than MLB average. Throw in a 5.8% barrel rate (MLB average is 6.4%) and Anderson has always done a good job of limiting quality contact.
Anderson appears to be a pitcher that was hurt by a drop in revenue across MLB due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a normal offseason, especially on a team in need of starting pitching help, Anderson likely would not have been non-tendered. However, now the Pirates can look to take advantage.