May 28, 2024

Expectations for Ian Anderson as he recovers from Tommy John

Ian Anderson had an exceptional start to his major league career, making a significant impact in his first professional season during the shortened 2020 campaign. The 22-year-old right-hander boasted a remarkable 1.95 ERA in six regular-season starts, earning him the role of #2 in the Braves rotation for the postseason. Anderson continued to impress in October, delivering 11.2 innings of scoreless pitching in his initial two playoff starts. Although the Braves fell short against the Dodgers in the NLCS, Anderson maintained a solid 2.57 ERA over two series starts, leaving a lasting impression on Braves fans.

His postseason success became a defining moment in Atlanta, especially as he played a key role in leading the team to its first World Series since 1995 the following season. Anderson’s postseason contributions included allowing only three earned runs in 17 innings and delivering a pivotal five no-hit innings in Game 3 of the World Series against the Astros.

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Despite the promising trajectory, the 2022 season brought challenges for the 23-year-old pitcher. A lack of a reliable third pitch behind his fastball and changeup led to a 5.00 ERA, eventually resulting in a demotion to Gwinnett. Additionally, injuries plagued Anderson, culminating in the announcement of Tommy John surgery on April 11 of that year.

Although Anderson missed the entire season due to the surgery, he remains with the Braves organization, offering hope for a successful return to the mound. By mid-season, expectations are for him to have fully recovered from Tommy John surgery. While replicating his past postseason success may be optimistic, Tommy John surgery has a positive track record of pitchers returning stronger. The physical benefits of the surgery, combined with Anderson’s demonstrated mental fortitude during postseason success, suggest a potential comeback.

The Braves aren’t relying on Anderson to contribute significant innings in the postseason, similar to the approach with Michael Soroka in previous seasons. Any contribution from Anderson would be considered a bonus. However, there is greater confidence in Anderson’s return, given the success rate of Tommy John surgery, compared to previous uncertainties surrounding Michael Soroka’s recovery.

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