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OC Register: Angels GM Perry Minasian believes Tyler Anderson can continue success without a shift behind him


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Pitching to contact in 2023 isn’t going to be quite the same as it has been recently.

That’s why the Angels had to do some extra homework before committing to a three-year, $39 million contract with left-hander Tyler Anderson.

On the day the Angels made the deal official, General Manager Perry Minasian conceded that the ban on defensive shifts, which begins next season, makes the future somewhat uncertain for pitchers like Anderson. Converting grounders into outs is more difficult if teams are limited from using optimal positioning.

“That was something we really concentrated on,” Minasian said. “You never know till he pitches.”

Anderson doesn’t throw hard and he doesn’t get many strikeouts, relative to other top major league pitchers.

His success during his breakthrough 2022 season, when he posted a 2.57 ERA with the Dodgers, was largely because he was able to induce soft contact.

Anderson ranked in the 98th percentile in the majors in terms of average exit velocity allowed, according to StatCast. In 2021, when he had a 4.53 ERA with the San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates, he still ranked in the 84th percentile.

Minasian believes that will still work, even if the fielders have to cover a little more ground to get to those balls.

“He was one of the better, if not the best, starters at limiting hard contact in baseball last year,” Minasian said. “With his repertoire, we think that’s going to maintain. He should still be really effective when it comes to limiting hard contact and allowing our defense to make plays. Obviously, when the ball is hit on the softer side, you have more time to make plays and the defense is usually better.”

The Angels will ask Anderson to pitch toward the top of a rotation that also includes Shohei Ohtani, Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers and José Suarez. All except for Ohtani are lefties.

“Obviously, we’re looking for quality pitching, whether you’re a lefty or a righty,” Minasian said. “We happen to have three really young left-handed starters that we feel like took major steps last year and hopefully continue to do that. To add another lefty to that mix, I think it’s more about the person and the player than if you’re a lefty or a righty.”

Anderson, who will make $13 million in each of the next three seasons, gives the Angels a pitcher who has shown an ability to eat innings. Minasian also likes that he brings “an edge,” which can make him a good influence on the younger pitchers.

In order to sign him, the Angels will surrender a second-round pick in next year’s draft. Minasian said giving up a small piece of the future was a risk the Angels were willing to take to compete now.

“That’s where we are as an organization,” he said. “We’re trying to put a competitive club on the field.”

To that end, the Angels still have plenty of work to do. They were 73-89 last season. Anderson potentially provides an upgrade from Noah Syndergaard, but the Angels still need a sixth starter to compete with the young pitchers they have.

Minasian wouldn’t answer specifically about where his focus might go next.

“There’s a lot of holes to fill in,” Minasian said. “I think we all know that. There’s holes in the infield, holes in the outfield. Bullpen could be an area. Adding to the rotation. Adding to the bench. There’s a lot of options and holes to fill. So, it’s just a matter of what presents itself, what makes sense, how we line up with different things.”

NOTES

Minasian said right-hander Griffin Canning, who was cleared to throw last week, should be ready for spring training, barring any setbacks. Canning missed all of the 2022 season with a back injury. “He’s on his throwing program and I think we all would be pretty excited to see a healthy Griffin Canning,” Minasian said. “He’s really talented. He’s had some pretty good years, so he’d be a welcome addition.” …

The Angels will play an exhibition game against Team USA, which will be led by Mike Trout, in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. The game will be on March 9 at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Team USA is playing an exhibition the day before against the Giants, before starting tournament play on March 11 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

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1 hour ago, AngelsWin.com said:

“There’s a lot of holes to fill in,” Minasian said. “I think we all know that. There’s holes in the infield, holes in the outfield. Bullpen could be an area. Adding to the rotation. Adding to the bench. There’s a lot of options and holes to fill. So, it’s just a matter of what presents itself, what makes sense, how we line up with different things.”

It’d be faster for Minasian to just list the holes they don’t need to fill.

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I’m a little happier with this signing than I was a couple days ago. Even if he starts to revert to a 4.25 #4 innings eater-type, we can maybe hope/expect guys like Sandoval or Detmers to similarly ascend to true, consistent #2-3’s along the same timeline, effectively swapping out on the depth charts and balancing the salary out.

Plus it’s not the worst contract to try to deal away or eat, so long as he can avoid turning into a total pumpkin before July ‘24.

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The money makes this deal a whole lot more palatable than I expected it would take to get him.  None of the red flags associated with him have changed but the overall risk has been mitigated by a decent amount when you're paying him 7m per less than what they were saying he was gonna get.   You're essentially paying for a 4th starter for 3 years.  You likely get that for 2 of the 3.  Getting more than that would be gravy.  

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7 hours ago, Stradling said:

Will the lack of shift impact him that much if he continues to create weak contact?  

I don't think it will be as drastic as some are saying. 

But I do expect it to affect his performance. 

I guess we'll have to wait and see. I wonder if Minasian is going to slightly prioritize infield defense over offensive production because of this.

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2 minutes ago, tdawg87 said:

I don't think it will be as drastic as some are saying. 

But I do expect it to affect his performance. 

I guess we'll have to wait and see. I wonder if Minasian is going to slightly prioritize infield defense over offensive production because of this.

then they would just play velasquez at SS. Rendon still has a solid glove and Fletch can hold down 2b defensively. 

Why not best of both worlds in Swanson or Correa?! Not my money, i mean technically a portion of it is, since i went to a few games last year.

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24 minutes ago, Angelsfan1984 said:

then they would just play velasquez at SS. Rendon still has a solid glove and Fletch can hold down 2b defensively. 

Why not best of both worlds in Swanson or Correa?! Not my money, i mean technically a portion of it is, since i went to a few games last year.

I don't care how they spend as long as it improves the roster.

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