A's Preview: Brett Anderson

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How many wins will Brett Anderson get in 2011? (Photo Credit: The Recliner GM Blog)

The A’s feature some very young and talented arms in their starting rotation, and southpaw Brett Anderson is one of them.

Anderson, 23, is the future of the A’s rotation, so long as he manages to stay healthy. Last season, the lefty went 7-6 with a 2.80 ERA in just 19 starts. Two elbow injuries limited the southpaw to just 112 innings in 2010, but Oakland is confident that Anderson will enter camp fully healthy and ready to go.

Oakland awarded Anderson with a four-year extension in April last year, and the A’s are hoping that Anderson can continue to grow and develop as the staff’s ace.

Last year, fellow youngster Trevor Cahill assumed the role of ace for Oakland’s staff. Cahill went 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA last year, en route to a Cy Young-worthy season.

But it’s been long known that Oakland’s best young pitcher is Anderson. Anderson possesses it all. He’s got great control of all his pitches, and he’s capable of becoming a dominant pitcher in the league.

Health, however, has been the only thing setting Anderson back.

Sounds a lot like Rich Harden, who has been rattled with injuries throughout his career. Like Harden, Anderson is thought to have tremendous upside.

He’s still 23 years old, so it’ll be exciting to see how Anderson performs this season if he’s healthy. If he’s healthy, he should easily surpass the 112 innings he logged in 2010, and should come close to 180 or so innings pitched in 2011.

Oakland is cautious, however, about Anderson’s injury history. Two separate elbow problems were cause for concern last year, and Oakland will definitely keep an eye on Anderson’s progression this year.

Anderson has a nasty slider that he get hitters to chase, but Oakland will probably want Anderson to cut back on the number of sliders he throws in a game. If Anderson is healthy, however, he should have no problem getting hitters out, as he’s got the ability to throw all his pitches for strikes.

There’s no telling of the future, but if Anderson’s healthy, it’s a safe bet to say that he’ll be among the top 30 starters in baseball this year.

Anderson has the ability to shut opposing offenses down, and I think in 2011 we’re all going to see what Anderson is really made of.

Here’s my [Relatively Basic] Prediction for Anderson in 2011:

W-L Record: 16-10, ERA: 3.36

*These numbers are vague right now, but once Spring Training is complete, be sure to come back for an in-depth Season Preview with more in-depth analysis & numbers.

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