Acquired: Traded from Arizona (with 1B Chris Carter, SP Dana Eveland, SP Greg Smith, OF Aaron Cunningham and OF Carlos Gonzalez) for SP Dan Haren (December 14, 2007).
Contract: Four years through 2013 (team options for 2014 and 2015).
Position: Starting pitcher; starting playa.
2011 Projected ERA: 3.53
2010 Season: In Anderson's final 16 starts of 2009 -- seven of which came against eventual playoff teams -- the rookie southpaw posted an impressive 3.03 ERA. Expectations were further raised when Anderson cobbled together a solid start to his 2010 season (2.35 ERA, no home runs allowed in 23 April innings) and signed a long-term contract extension. A-a-a-and then he missed most of the next three months with a forearm strain and elbow tendinitis. From July 30 (his for reals return from the disabled list) until the end of the season, however, Anderson threw 81.2 innings over 13 starts with a 2.98 ERA. It's hard to draw any hard and fast conclusions from Anderson's overall 2010 numbers. His strikeout rate per nine innings fell from 7.7 in 2009 to 6.0 last year, but his groundball-to-fly ball ratio took a sizeable step in the right direction (1.49 to 1.94) while his xFIP was essentially identical between his freshman and sophomore seasons. These stats don't tell much of a story in an injury-abbreviated season, so let's see what we can glean from these numbers: one Twitter picture plus two women and twenty singles in each hand can never end well.
2011 Over/Under: I know this is a violation of small sample size laws or arbitrary end points or some other statistical oversimplification...but, over his last 35 starts (essentially a full season's worth dating back to July 6, 2009) Anderson's ERA is 2.91. Every "sleeper" list (from fantasy leagues to AL Cy Young consideration) should have Anderson firmly entrenched towards the top. In fact, it's been nearly 20 years since any sleeper was effective enough to bring home a championship. I think we're long overdue. UNDER.
By the Numbers: 11 – The number of days after signing his contract extension on April 16, 2010 that it took for Anderson to land on the disabled list. While he and former A's starter Rich Harden aren't the least bit similar, I remember being ridiculously excited with the promise and potential of Harden several years back. In July 2003, m'man Smitty and I were in attendance at Angel Stadium for Harden's first MLB win. Unfortunately, Harden's legacy in Oakland was a litany of injuries. Hell, the Athletics signed Harden as a free agent this past offseason and he got hurt during the first week of Spring Training. He didn't even make this year's "30 A's in 30 Days" feature. Do you want this to be you, Brett? Do you?
Surefire 2011 Prediction: 20 wins. American League Cy Young Award.
Old School Rap Track for the Season: Nobody Does It Better, Nate Dogg featuring Warren G.