Here's a Thought: Brett Anderson Is Turning a Corner

Nathaniel StoltzSenior Analyst IJuly 13, 2009

BOSTON - JULY 6:  Brett Anderson #49 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 6, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Looking at the A's rotation so far, it's clear that Dallas Braden is every bit the good #2 guy I thought he could be. Josh Outman looked very good before blowing out his elbow, and Vince Mazzaro should be a good starter for years to come.

As for Trevor Cahill...well, his terrible peripherals indicate he's in the need of some Triple-A time.

The other starter in the Oakland rotation is 21-year-old rookie Brett Anderson.

Anderson posted ERAs above 5.00 in April, May, and June, leading many to categorize him as the weakest link in a young rotation.

Not so fast.

Anderson has thrown thirteen shutout innings in July, striking out twelve batters and walking just three.

You might think that he just threw thirteen good innings, but that's not the case.

Let's look at Anderson's season month-by-month in terms of peripheral stats.

Month      BB/9      K/9      HR/9
April        3.09      5.40     1.54
May        2.63      4.88     2.25
June        2.33      8.33     1.00
July         2.08      8.31     0.00

In April and May, Anderson had ERAs of 5.01 and 6.38. The peripheral stats seem to agree: the lefty was bad in April and worse in May.

However, in June, Anderson seems to have turned a corner. 5.00 ERA aside, his K-rate nearly doubled, his walk rate continued its downward trend, and Anderson finally kept the ball in the park a reasonable amount.

Anderson wasn't a 5.00 ERA-quality pitcher in June: he deserved an ERA closer to the 3.7-3.8 range.

Anderson's strong June performance makes his July breakout much easier to take seriously. His strikeout rate has maintained its June level, his walk rate continues to trend down, and Anderson is continuing to leverage his groundball tendencies into a better home run rate.

Anderson seems poised for a big second half. He could soon emerge as the best pitcher on the A's.