The Oakland A’s recalled pitcher Tanner Anderson on Monday, the team announced. Anderson will start Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. To make room on the roster, reliever Ryan Dull was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas.
This will be the first career MLB start for Anderson, though he’s appeared in the majors before in relief. The 26-year-old was acquired in a minor trade last winter from the Pirates, who had been using him in the bullpen for the most part (see 2018 numbers below), but the A’s saw a chance to convert him into a pitch-to-contact starter. With that plan in mind, he placed No. 24 on our Community Prospect List.
Anderson, 2018 AAA: 2.64 ERA, 61⅓ ip, 49 Ks, 15 BB, 2 HR, 3.09 FIP
Anderson, 2018 MLB: 6.35 ERA, 11⅓ ip, 6 Ks, 8 BB, 1 HR, 5.63 FIP
The right-hander doesn’t strike out a lot of batters but rather relies on getting grounders, including an enormous 62.2% rate last year in the minors. To that end, his arsenal includes a 93 mph sinker, a slider, and a change, with the slider capable of earning some whiffs. For a full scouting report, here’s our preseason writeup.
Unfortunately, the results haven’t been what anyone hoped so far this season. Through 11 appearances for Las Vegas, Anderson has gotten pounded, allowing an obscene number of dingers and doubling his walk rate. On top of all that, his grounder rate has fallen to 54.8%, which is still fairly high but not enough.
Anderson, 2019 AAA: 6.26 ERA, 54⅔ ip, 37 Ks, 26 BB, 14 HR, 7.27 FIP
Of course, it remains to be seen how those numbers should be analyzed. The Aviators are playing in a brand-new ballpark in the hitter-friendly desert and we don’t yet know the extent of the effect it has on offense, and also Triple-A has begun using springier MLB baseballs that have helped spike production (especially homers) throughout the Pacific Coast League. Anderson’s numbers are what they are, but when almost literally the entire Vegas rotation has ERAs over 5.00 and FIPs over 6.00, and most of their hitters are having breakout power years, it’s fair to wonder if there’s a confounding variable at play beyond just their talent level. We’ll find out a lot more about Anderson when he takes the mound in Tampa Bay.
The promotion of Anderson is the latest try by the A’s to fill their fifth starter spot, while they wait for some injured stars to return to the rotation. Aaron Brooks got a look to begin the season but was hit hard, eventually moving to the bullpen. Daniel Mengden was next up but struggled with his control, walking 15 batters in 23 innings and failing to work deep into games, earning him a ticket back down to Triple-A. And most recently, Paul Blackburn took a turn on Saturday in the doubleheader, but got smashed by the Rangers for five runs in three frames and went back down to Vegas at the end of the day.
Meanwhile, Dull once again got knocked around in the majors. He only made it into one game this time, in the first leg of the doubleheader on Saturday, and it went terribly. He entered in the 4th inning with the A’s down one run, and allowed five runs (four earned) in two frames to effectively put the game out of reach.
Dull, 2019: 12.00 ERA, 9 ip, 8 Ks, 4 BB, 4 HR, 8.81 FIP
That’s been the story of the season for Dull, who has allowed runs in all but one of his seven MLB outings this year. He’ll return to Vegas, where the only other healthy reliever on the 40-man roster is J.B. Wendelken, who is also scuffling lately.
Here’s the updated 25-man roster.
Frankie Montas (R)
Chris Bassitt (R)
Mike Fiers (R)
Brett Anderson (L)
Tanner Anderson (R)
Blake Treinen (R)
Lou Trivino (R)
Joakim Soria (R)
Ryan Buchter (L)
Yusmeiro Petit (R)
Liam Hendriks (R)
Wei-Chung Wang (L)
Aaron Brooks (R)
Josh Phegley (R)
Beau Taylor (L)
Matt Olson (L)
Jurickson Profar (S)
Marcus Semien (R)
Matt Chapman (R)
Khris Davis (R)
Stephen Piscotty (R)
Ramon Laureano (R)
Robbie Grossman (S)
Chad Pinder (R)
Mark Canha (R)
10-day IL: RHP Marco Estrada (back), C Nick Hundley (back)
60-day IL: RHP Jharel Cotton (TJS), RHP Daniel Gossett (TJS), LHP Sean Manaea (shoulder), C Chris Herrmann (knee)