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Season review: Tyler Anderson

It was an up-and-down season for the veteran lefty.

San Francisco Giants v Seattle Mariners Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants season is over, so it’s review time. Every player, in alphabetical order. Next up is left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson.

Season stats

13 games (11 starts), 59.2 innings, 58 hits, 25 walks, 4 hit by pitch, 5 home runs, 41 strikeouts, 1.391 WHIP

4.37 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 0.4 rWAR, 0.7 fWAR

Status throughout the season

Anderson made the Opening Day roster and stayed on the roster for the entirety of the season.

Season review

Before the season started, Anderson was a trendy pick to be a breakout player for the Giants. San Francisco claimed Anderson off waivers a year ago, as soon as the season ended. Here’s what Bryan Murphy wrote on McCovey Chronicles at the time:

We ought to know by now that any move the Giants make isn’t a permanent or even long-term one. To make room for Anderson, Kyle Barraclough was designated for assignment. He wasn’t all that great for them in his nine innings, but the Giants do need relievers next year.

But they also need starting pitchers, and Anderson might have the potential to fill the back end of the rotation. He pitched just 20.2 innings last year — zero in the minors — because of a cartilage issue in his knee that required season-ending surgery. So, that’s why this move might not matter in a week or two, once free agency really gets going, but grabbing an intriguing arm as a raffle ticket in case his health improves is what the first year of the Zaidi era has been all about.

That was a very reasonable take. But as time went on, the narrative started to shift. Anderson stayed on the roster, Madison Bumgarner left, and with every passing week we thought of a player who had turned things around after being acquired by Farhan Zaidi.

Suddenly dreams danced in our heads of Anderson — a former first-round pick — finally putting things together in a Giants jersey.

It didn’t really happen, though it didn’t entirely not happen either. Anderson didn’t have the Mike Yastrzemski level breakout once he suddenly put on a black and orange cap, but he did modestly outperform the projections. And while we’re on the subject of outperforming, Bryan also said this:

I’m not saying Tyler Anderson is the next Madison Bumgarner, nor am I suggesting the Giants think they’ve found a suitable replacement, just that there’s some overlap between the two, and maybe that did somehow factor into the Giants’ thinking.

Now I don’t want to compare Anderson to a franchise legend like Bumgarner, but ... look at the stats for the two and the Giants are much, much, much happier with Anderson than Bumgarner, and that’s before you even get into the contracts.

It should be noted that Anderson, more so than perhaps any other Giant, benefitted from the season postponement. He was not healthy enough to start the season in March, and, in a normal season, would have needed to work his way into a rotation that got started before he did.

But with the postponed season, Anderson was healthy from the jump, and even started the second game of the season.

One area where he struggled — and this might be a question mark heading into next year — was in facing teams a second time.

His first start against the Arizona Diamondbacks was phenomenal. He pitched the only complete game of the season for the Giants, allowing just 4 baserunners and 1 unearned run.

His next two starts were also against the DBacks, and he gave up 11 earned runs in 8.2 innings.

Following that, his next start came against the Seattle Mariners, and he allowed 4 baserunners with 0 runs in 6.0 innings. In his very next start, he lasted just 2.0 innings (before getting ejected), while giving up 4 runs to those very same Mariners.

Still and all, there was more good than bad, and perhaps more average than either. He wasn’t the brilliant reformation project that some dreamed up, but he was an asset.

Role in 2021

Anderson is entering his third and final year of arbitration, so the Giants can keep him for a low price should they choose to. And they’ll surely choose to, barring a trade.

Will Anderson be in the rotation next year? It’s hard to say, especially without knowing what offseason moves the team makes. But he’ll enter Spring Training with that as a distinct possibility.


Anderson was good at times, bad at times, average at times, and absolutely needed, when you look at the options behind him.



How would you grade Tyler Anderson’s season?

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