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Anderson working to become next Texas-born star

Special to
Texas has produced some of the Major Leagues' most productive pitchers over the years.

Chase Anderson isn't there quite yet, but someday he would like to join a list that includes two of his favorites -- Nolan Ryan and Josh Beckett.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound right-hander, who is ranked as the 19th best prospect in the system by, is doing his best to push the process along after being assigned to the Arizona Fall League by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He has made two starts for the Salt River Rafters, managed by D-backs third-base coach Matt Williams.

In Anderson's first start on Oct. 10, he allowed a run on two hits, walked two and struck out two in 2 2/3 innings. He earned credit for the 11-3 win over the Mesa Solar Sox.

Start No. 2 came on Tuesday against the Phoenix Desert Dogs. Anderson worked three innings this time, yielding two runs on two hits while walking two and striking out four in a 3-3 tie. He gave up a home run to Oakland Athletics infield prospect Yordy Cabrera.

Anderson, a native of Wichita Falls, Texas, was chosen in the ninth round by Arizona in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft after pitching for the University of Oklahoma.

He pitched well in 2009 and '10 but was sidetracked for most of 2011 with a strained flexor tendon in his throwing elbow that did not require surgery.

Anderson battled back for a solid 2012 season with Double-A Mobile, posting a 5-4 record and 2.86 ERA in 21 starts, walking 25 and striking out 97 in 104 innings.

"It's good to be back out there on the mound, getting my release point where it needs to be," he said. "My body has felt good, getting back in the groove. I had a successful season and I'm healthy from [2011], which is really important."

Shortly after the AFL season ends in mid-November, Anderson will turn 25. His clock is ticking. And he knows the D-backs have a crop of top-notch young arms ahead of him, but he figures the club can make room for another.

Anderson doesn't have the velocity of a Ryan (who does?) and is not a big guy like Beckett, although he does have some quality pitches.

Williams has been impressed by what he has seen of Anderson thus far.

"Fastball, curve, change. He commands the strike zone," Williams said. "Does he have a blazing fastball? No. But the other pitches make it effective.

"I think he's got a future [in the big leagues]."

Williams said Anderson reminds him a bit of D-backs right-hander Ian Kennedy.

The changeup is one of Anderson's favorite pitches

"I learned to throw it at a young age," he said. "I kept working on it, and now I have the confidence to throw it at any time in the count. I think I am becoming more consistent with my curveball and my cutter, and I am improving my fastball command."

After throwing to the same catcher most of the season in Mobile, working with different backstops in the AFL has been an adjustment.

"When you're used to somebody else, it can take some time, but the guys out here have been great. They are learning what I like to throw in certain counts, and I am learning about them," Anderson said.

There was a time when he was a Texas Rangers fan, "but now they are second to the D-Backs," he said. "I am ecstatic to be with them, that they have given me another opportunity to pitch here. They are first class. They take care of you. I'd like to continue to be part of their organization and be in the big leagues sooner rather than later."

Don Ketchum is a contributor to

Arizona Diamondbacks