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First-round pick Anderson not lacking in confidence

Hurler looking forward to going pro, sees himself in mold of Ryan Express

LOS ANGELES -- Add fearless (if not crazy) to the tools checklist on Dodgers first-round pick Chris Anderson.

Asked how he would pitch Dodgers Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig, the 20-year-old right-hander from Jacksonville University didn't hesitate.

"I'd attack him," said the 18th overall pick in the Draft. "That's what I do. Not to say he wouldn't get the best of me sometimes, but I'd get him, too."

So when Dodgers vice president of scouting Logan White said he likes Anderson's bulldog mentality, that's apparently what he means.

Anderson is being advised by Aces and indicated he should be a quick sign when he said, "I'm pretty set on turning pro." The Dodgers have $5,211,700 to spend on their first 10 picks, ranking 25th in MLB, with $2,109,900 designated for the first-round pick.

This year at Jacksonville, Anderson was 7-5 with a 2.49 ERA and a conference-leading 101 strikeouts in 104 innings with 27 walks. In his freshman year at Jacksonville, he was a closer. He blossomed after pitching in last summer's Cape Cod League.

Anderson said it wasn't fatigue that led to his April "lull," as White termed it. It was trying too hard to carry a team that wound up 17-34.

"I was putting too much pressure on myself to perform," he said. "We were struggling at times, and I wanted to be too good. I talked to my coaches, and they settled me down and I turned it around at the end of the year."

White said because of his college workload, Anderson would be limited to 50 innings the rest of the year once he signs. Anderson said he wouldn't argue, but didn't seem to agree the cautious approach was necessary.

"I've been telling everybody I feel great right now, I'm 100 percent," he said. "Whatever they've got planned, I'll follow. But I'm ready to go and compete and what I love to do -- pitch."

Anderson, a 6-4, 225-pounder from Minnesota, said he compares his pitching style to Nolan Ryan, who retired in 1993, one year after Anderson was born.

"Not that I belong in the same sentence, but Nolan Ryan, I always watched him and liked his demeanor on the mound," he said. "He was a very fierce competitor and that's what I pride myself on being." Anderson thought at one point he might turn out to be a quarterback, which he played in high school.

"My freshman and sophomore seasons, that's what I wanted to do -- follow in my uncle's footsteps and get to the NFL," said Anderson, whose uncle, Chris Simdorn, won the 1990 Harlon Hill Trophy (the Division II version of the Heisman) playing for North Dakota State.

"But in my junior year, I started to get a lot more attention on the baseball end, and I'm glad I made the decision."

He was recruited by Jacksonville out of Wisconsin showcase tournament ("I thought it was the best fit for me") and had no regrets about not signing out of high school when the Cubs took him in the 35th round.

"That wasn't a hard decision," he said. "I knew I was going to college. I had a lot of stuff to work on. I was not near as good as I wanted to be. Now I feel I put in a lot of work and got a lot better."

The Dodgers have taken pitchers first in 10 of the last 11 Drafts under White. The scout that followed Anderson, Scott Hennessey, drafted and signed Paco Rodriguez in the second round last year.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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