Our 2020 Brewers season report cards continue. This time, we take a look at Brett Anderson.
Brett Anderson joined the Brewers on a one year, five million dollar contract last offseason. He was coming off a very successful year with Oakland in which he started 31 games, was never on the injured list, and had a 3.89 ERA in 176 innings pitched.
2019 was the first year that Anderson had started over 30 games in a season since his time with the Dodgers in 2015. The signing of Anderson to the Brewers last December did not draw much attention, but rather he was signed with the expectation of a depth rotation starter.
Unfortunately for Anderson, he was placed on the injured list prior to Opening Day due to a blister and ended with him being left off the Wild Card series roster as a result of a blister on the same finger as prior to the season starting. He is the Brewers only true free agent this offseason, so let’s grade his 2020 season performance.
Brett Anderson 2020 Season Grade:
Anderson made ten starts for the Brewers in 2020 and his first three starts were relatively short since he was still building up arm endurance. He failed to pitch five innings worth of baseball in his first three starts and threw 52, 68, and then 87 pitches in those starts. While he didn’t pitch poorly at first, he did give up two earned runs in each of those starts.
Around the middle of August, Anderson was making his fourth start and that was finally when he began hitting his stride. Against a good offensive Minnesota Twins team he went six innings and allowed just one run.
From there his next five starts would all go a minimum of five innings, but with mixed results. Against the Pirates and Indians he would allow four earned runs, but he allowed two or less earned runs versus the Reds twice and the Cardinals once. His final start of the year was cut short due to the recurring blister that eventually ended his season.
He did show the ability, when healthy, to consistently pitch five to six innings for manager Craig Counsell, but you didn’t necessarily know how well he was going to perform. In two out of his ten starts he went at least six innings with just one run allowed, but he also had two starts of four runs allowed.
When all was said and done, Anderson ended the 2020 season with a 4.21 ERA. He generated ground balls at a 60% rate, which was expected given his heavy sinker use, but unfortunately batters were making solid contact often against him as Anderson was in the bottom five percent in hard hit percentage against.
Over a larger sample size I think Brewer fans would have been relatively pleased with Brett Anderson, but two trips to the injured list in a short 60 game season certainly is not impressing. Given he was signed to be a depth starter in the middle of the rotation, I feel like the C+ grade is fitting for when healthy he consistently ate up innings and occasionally did more than his job description.
Anderson will be 33 years old for the 2021 season, so it will be interesting to monitor whether or not the Brewers elect to re-sign him to another contract or not.