Anderson 'way advanced'; Muller 'explosive'

March 3rd, 2021

As escaped a bases-loaded threat during a 6-0 win over the Twins on Tuesday afternoon at CoolToday Park in North Port, Fla., he showed the same poise that gave the Braves the confidence to start him in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series last October -- less than two months after his Major League debut.

“He slows the game down, trusts his stuff and is on the attack,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s like way advanced for his experience.”

There’s reason for the Braves to be excited about Anderson, who posted a 1.95 ERA over six regular-season starts and then didn’t allow a run through the first 17 2/3 innings of his postseason career. The 22-year-old hurler provided a glimpse of his trademark composure when he allowed only one hit and one run in six innings against Gerrit Cole and the Yankees in his first big league outing on Aug. 26.

Anderson then blanked the Reds during the NL Wild Card Series, silenced the Marlins during the NL Division Series and worked four scoreless innings during his NLCS Game 2 start against the Dodgers. His dominant run through October ended five days later, when he allowed two runs over three innings in that Game 7 start vs. Los Angeles.

Pitching for the first time Tuesday since gaining that invaluable NLCS experience, Anderson twirled a scoreless opening frame against the Twins and then allowed three straight one-out singles in the second. He escaped the threat unscathed by inducing a Jose Miranda strikeout and a Max Kepler lineout to a sliding Ender Inciarte in center field.

“I feel like that is my M.O. recently,” Anderson said. “It would be a lot better if I didn’t have to deal with that stuff. But it’s good to know I have it in me when the big situations come up.”

Spring TV schedule
Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast announced they will broadcast six Braves Spring Training games this year. Each of these games will also be available on MLB.TV.

Fox Sports Southeast will carry the Fox Sports North broadcast of games against the Twins on March 12 and 22. Chip Caray and Jeff Francoeur will be in the booth when Fox Sports South produces Atlanta's games on March 19 (vs. Twins), March 20 (vs. Red Sox), March 26 (at Twins) and March 28 (at Rays).

Throwing strikes
Left-handed pitching prospect Kyle Muller -- the club's No. 6 prospect per MLB Pipeline -- caught Snitker’s attention with the powerful stuff he displayed in 1 2/3 scoreless innings against the Twins. Muller surrendered a pair of hits but didn’t issue a walk while striking out three of the seven batters he faced.

Muller most recently compiled a 3.14 ERA in 22 starts for Double-A Mississippi in 2019, boasting a 25.6 percent strikeout rate but also a disturbing 14.5 percent walk rate. His bid to become a starter or reliever at the big league level will be determined by his ability to improve his command.

“With that stuff, if he gets it over and can locate, that’s a rough ride,” Snitker said. “It’s just explosive with all his pitches. It’s just throwing enough strikes. You don’t have to be perfect when you have stuff like that. But you’ve got to get it in the area code every now and then.”

Odds and ends
Michael Harris has the potential to rise to the top of the Braves’ prospect lists this year. The 19-year-old prospect from suburban Atlanta (currently ranked No. 12) went 1-for-2 with a single against the Twins. Snitker is looking forward to seeing more of the young outfielder in Wednesday’s game against the Orioles.

’s two-run homer off Twins lefty Charlie Barnes came in his first plate appearance of the spring. The Braves' catcher tallied nine homers in 44 games last year.

• Potential closer cruised through his spring debut, drawing groundouts from Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco before striking out Miguel Sanó to end a clean third inning.