OAKLAND, CA: Brett Anderson #49 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Minnesota Twins at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Brett Anderson has been on the disabled list for all of 2012 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, but he made his season debut on Tuesday. The left-hander threw seven innings, striking out six against no walks. He scattered four hits, allowing just the one run in the first inning, but was great from that initial frame onward.
It's understandable that he would be owned in fewer leagues now than if he had recovered from TJ back in say, June, when more than half the season remained. Fewer teams are still competing for the top spot in their league (or the playoffs, in head-to-head formats), therefore fewer teams are picking up free agents as they become available. That being said, Anderson is owned in just 45 percent of CBS leagues, and a paltry six percent of ESPN leagues.
We're talking about a hurler with a career ERA of 3.66, one who strikes out three times as many hitters as he walks, pitching in a pitcher-friendly stadium for a team that's doing well in 2012. Things might not be perfect in his first few starts, as sometimes TJ recipients have command issues for a time, but the circumstances surrounding Anderson make him an obvious stash, if nothing else.
The A's might take it easy with Anderson, but on Tuesday, he threw 86 pitches in seven innings -- if he can maintain his efficiency, a pitch count won't matter every time out. Even if he's only giving you five frames in each start, who better do you have available in your league at this late stage?
If you grab Anderson this week, he's a potential two-start candidate for next week, as the A's play on Monday, in time for Anderson's turn in the rotation. Again, you don't have to start him if you don't feel comfortable doing so this soon after his return, but if he pitches well in those two starts, it's going to be harder -- or more expensive -- for you on FAAB or with waiver claims.