With the 2021 season having come to a close, we are looking back at the year that was for members of the Texas Rangers.
Today we are looking at pitcher Drew Anderson.
I started working on a write-up for Drew Anderson earlier this week, went to check something on him, and stumbled upon the fact that he had apparently been released a few days beforehand, a transaction that I hadn’t seen and that John Blake hadn’t tweeted about, and that was only noted because it showed up on the MLB transactions page for October 29. That mooted any potential discussion of his 40 man roster status, although Anderson seemed like a lock to be dropped once the World Series ended anyway.
Blake finally announced the move yesterday evening, and said that Anderson had been released “in order that he may pursue an opportunity with a professional team in Asia.” I think Anderson was being released anyway, but as my grandmother liked to say, if you’re being run out of town, get out in front and make it look like a parade.
Anderson does fit the mold of a pitcher who goes from the United States to Japan or Korea and has success. He’s just 27, and has a four pitch mix and good command, but his stuff isn’t good enough for him to stick in a major league rotation. His profile is as a swingman, the type of guy who, if he pitches in the U.S., is likely to be signing a minor league deal with an invite to spring training every offseason, and to toil in AAA all year, absorbing innings and providing an option for the major league club to bring up in case of emergency.
Anderson is reminiscent of former Ranger pitcher Nick Martinez, who logged 68 starts and twenty relief appearances for the Rangers from 2014-17, but who ultimately profiled as a swingman, and who decamped to Japan, where he has pitched since 2018. Martinez actually put up an impressive 1.62 ERA in 149.2 IP in his first season for Softbank in the JPL in 2021, after three seasons with the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Anderson spent the first several months of the 2021 season with Round Rock, putting up a 3.06 ERA in 70.2 innings over 12 starts and three relief appearances, before being called up after the trade deadline to help fortify a pitching staff that saw three of its members get dealt at the end of July. Anderson was fine for the Rangers, putting up a 3.27 ERA in 22 IP, albeit with only 9 Ks against 6 walks. Anderson also was caught up in the Boston COVID outbreak that sidelined numerous Rangers, or else he likely would have logged another 15-20 innings.
As someone out of options and without stuff that would play in a major league rotation, Anderson seemed destined for the waiver wire once the season was over anyway. He now will get the opportunity to earn more money than he would in the United States, with more in-season stability as well.
Best of luck to Drew as he starts a new adventure overseas in 2022.