With the third overall pick in the draft, the Atlanta Braves selected RHP Ian Anderson out of Shenendehowa High School in New York. Throughout the last 24-48 hours, there has been a lot of drama and intrigue around the Braves’ draft strategy. Starting a couple days ago, the Braves interest in Anderson became readily apparent when reports began circulating that the Braves had a heavy scouting presence at his last start on the previous Saturday. Ian did not disappoint in that start as he was widely considered to be excellent in that start and it surely gave the Braves confidence in pulling the trigger on their strategy.
Widely ranked as a player in the teens as a draft prospect, one of the worst kept secrets is that Anderson is likely going to be an underslot deal so that the Braves would be able to make some serious waves with the 40th and 44th picks in the draft. While it may take a bit for the monetary figures to come out about Anderson’s signing, it seems safe to say that the Braves will have some money to spend on some of the talented players that may slide in the first round due to signability or other concerns.
As for Anderson, he is a 6’3 righty who features a downhill fastball that he can run up in to the middle 90s although it generally sits a little lower than that. He also has a projectable frame at 170 pounds so that fastball could go a tick or two up once he adds some muscle and grows a bit. His breaking ball is more a slurve than anything else with some late break that he has used as a strikeout pitch, but it may be best served to transition to a slider as he develops (although both would be plus). His changeup has been described by some as average and others as a plus, potential plus-plus pitch. With the limited video we’ve seen, calling it plus seems right but there does seem to be some inconsistency there. The Braves may have benefited in that the weather in the Northeast and an oblique injury kept teams from getting a lot of scouting done on Ian. Braves fans hope that Atlanta found yet another way to get a great value with their pick AND spread their bonus pool down to their other picks. Welcome to the Braves, Ian Anderson!