The Braves have to be pleased with the early return on Ian Anderson.Selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, Anderson fired four more scoreless innings on Saturday for the Braves' Gulf Coast League affiliate, giving him 15 straight scoreless innings to begin his professional career. The
The Braves have to be pleased with the early return on Ian Anderson.
Selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, Anderson fired four more scoreless innings on Saturday for the Braves' Gulf Coast League affiliate, giving him 15 straight scoreless innings to begin his professional career. The Braves' No. 5 prospect allowed just two hits and established a new career best by striking out six hitters.
Anderson, already ranked No. 94 on the Top 100, has registered 14 strikeouts against four walks across his four starts, during which he's limited opposing hitters to a .212 average while generating more than twice as many ground-ball outs as flyouts.
Tall and projectable with plenty of room for adding strength to his 6-foot-3, 170-pound frame, Anderson throws his fastball in the 91-95 mph range with good downhill angle, and there were reports that he was bumping 97 in the weeks leading up to the Draft. The 18-year-old right-hander gets swings and misses with a breaking ball that can be plus at times. Though it plays more like a slurve at this point, scouts expect the pitch to develop into more of a true slider for the right-hander. Anderson also has good feel for an average changeup, and he has a strong track record of throwing strikes and attacking opposing hitters.
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Saturday
• No. 13 overall prospectOrlando Arcia (Brewers' No. 1) connected on a three-run home run against Dodgers' No. 3 prospect Jose De Leon (No. 44 overall), though it wasn't enough to keep Triple-A Colorado Springs from falling to Oklahoma City. The home run was Arcia's eighth of the season and his first since July 6.
• Although Sean Newcomb has struggled in July, the Braves' No. 3 prospect (No. 60 overall) was sharp, as he tossed five innings of one-run ball for Double-A Mississippi against Birmingham. The 23-year-old lefty scattered five hits, walked one and struck out seven while firing 61 of his 96 pitches for strikes.
• No. 69 overall prospectYohander Méndez (Rangers' No. 4) lowered his ERA to 3.09 for Double-A Frisco as he allowed one earned run on three hits over five innings against San Antonio. The 21-year-old lefty struck out six and walked a pair in the outing, giving him a 46-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 46 2/3 innings since joining the RoughRiders.
• A pair of unearned runs made No. 92 overall prospect Erick Fedde (Nationals' No. 5) a tough-luck loser on Saturday night, as Class A Advanced Potomac fell to Carolina, 3-1. The 2014 first-rounder set a career high by completing 6 2/3 innings, and he also matched his career high-water mark by striking out nine hitters for the second time this season.
• No. 93 overall prospect Sean Reid-Foley (Blue Jays' No. 1) dominated once again for Class A Advanced Dunedin as he struck out nine hitters in 6 2/3 innings against Jupiter. The 20-year-old righty allowed one earned run on one hit and four walks, with 61 of his 99 pitches going for strikes in the outing. Since moving up to the Florida State League, Reid-Foley has pitched to a 1.95 ERA with 28 hits allowed (.147 opponents' batting average) and a 68-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 55 1/3 innings (nine starts). Pacing Dunedin on offense was Blue Jays No. 3 prospect Anthony Alford, who homered and doubled as part of a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. After an injury-plagued and underwhelming first half, the 22-year-old outfielder is hitting .342 with three homers and 10 runs scored over his past 10 games.
• Twins No. 5 prospect Stephen Gonsalves gave up one earned run on four hits in six innings for Double-A Chattanooga in a win over Tennessee, marking the fifth straight start in which he's allowed two or fewer earned runs. The 22-year-old lefty struck out six and walked two in the outing. Since his promotion to Chattanooga, Gonsalves has pitched to a 2.79 ERA with 47 strikeouts over 38 2/3 innings (seven starts).
• Twins No. 7 prospect Alex Kirilloff continued to swing a hot bat on Saturday as he went 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored a run for Rookie-level Elizabethton. It was the sixth three-hit performance in 28 pro games for the 2016 first-rounder, who is hitting .372/.373/.531 with 10 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs for the season.
• Making his full-season debut for Class A South Bend, Cubs No. 8 prospect Oscar De La Cruz allowed just two hits in 4 2/3 scoreless innings against Great Lakes, striking out seven and walking one. Through four starts, the 6-foot-4 right-hander owns a 1.69 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP with 23 strikeouts and four walks in 16 innings.
• Rockies No. 13 prospect Ryan Castellani hurled the first complete game of his career to pace Class A Advanced Modesto in a 4-1 win against San Jose. The 2014 second-rounder allowed one earned run on four hits over nine innings, striking out six and issuing two walks.
• Cardinals No. 19 prospect Austin Gomber was brilliant in his second start for Double-A Springfield, as he tossed seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball with three strikeouts and two walks in a win versus Northwest Arkansas. In his second full professional season, the big left-hander has pitched to a 2.69 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP over 120 2/3 innings (19 starts) between the Class A Advanced and Double-A levels.
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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.