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The season that was: Chase Anderson

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Blue Jays picked up Chase Anderson in trade from the Brewers for Chad Spanberger (who came to us in the Seunghwan Oh trade).

Coming into the season Chase had pitched in 6 seasons in the MLB, has a 3.94 ERA in 166 games, 160 starts, and a 53-40 record. Batters hit .249/.314/.435 against him. In 2019 he pitched in 32 games, 25 starts, and had a 4.21 ERA and an 8-4 record.

The reasoning to the trade was that he had made 25-30 starts a season for the previous 5 years and we needed someone we could count on to make a start every 5 days.

Matt put up a post comparing Chase with Marco Estrada.

Granted, none of this is to say that Chase Anderson is going to be the second coming of Marco Estrada in Toronto, who for two and a half years was one of the top starters in the American League. But the beauty of this deal is that he doesn’t have to be. This is a fine deal if Anderson replicates what he has been over his career, and any upside from there would move it into proverbial home run territory (something he knows a little about...)

We were pretty realistic with our expectations, just thinking he could continue along the way he had, but also seeing that there was some potential upside.

Chase didn’t live up to our limited expectations.

Standard Pitching
1 2 7.22 10 7 33.2 45 29 27 11 10 38 1 1 61 6.16
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/4/2020.

When you give up more home runs than walks, it isn’t a good season.

Baseball Reference has him at a -0.5 WAR. FanGraphs liked him better, -0.1.

His BABIP was .362, way way up form last year .266. 66.5% of his base runners were stranded, much worse than his 77.1% of last year.

Chase’s FIP was 6.16 and xFIP was 4.09.

His line drive rate was 26.9% (up from 20.3 last year), ground ball didn’t change much (36.5%, from 35.0) and fly ball down a lot 36.5% (down from 44.7). 28.9% of his fly balls left the park (way up from 12.2%).

Anderson’s strikeout rate was 24.7% (up from 20.9) and walk rate was 6.5% (down from 7.1).

Soft contact up a little (22.9%, from 19.0) and hard contact was down (35.2% from 37.6).

Left-handed batters (.328/.379/.656) hit him better than right-handed batters (.305/.352/.598). But then everyone hit him like they were Babe Ruth

At home Anderson had a 4.88 ERA. On the road, 13.03 (but he only had 9.2 road innings.. Batters hit .276/.324/.439 at home (Buffalo) and .400/.449/1.022 (in 49 PA) on the road.

Chase by month:

  • August: 0-0, 3.20 ERA in 5 starts. Batters hit .260/.305/.390 in 82 PA.
  • September: 1-2, 12.86 in 5 games, 2 starts. Batters hit .379/.431/.894 in 72 PA.

He had a good August and an awful Septembers. He missed the start of the season with an oblique strain.

We went 2-5 in his 7 starts.

Anderson’s best start, by GameScore, was a 65 on August 31. He went 5 innings, allowed 3 hits, 1 earned, no walks with 8 strikeouts.

His worst start was a 22, on September 5. He went 4 innings, allowing 9 hits, 6 earned, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts with 3 home runs.

His season high in pitches was in that August 31 start, 84. His fewest, in a start, was 45, on August 8.

As a starter, he had a 5.81 ERA in 7 starts, 26.1 innings, averaging 3.8 innings a starts.

As a reliever, he had a 12.27 ERA in 3 games, 7.1 innings.

It is that sort of performance that will get your contract option declined.

It is peculiar how it entirely cut in half, an August that was better than we could have expected from Chase. And a September that was roughly as good as I could have done (well, no, I would have had a lot more base on balls).

Could there have been an injury that they kept secret?

The Yankees clubbed him in two back-to-back games. In the one game, he gave up 5 home runs in 2.2 innings. In the other game, he gave up just 3 earned, in 2.2 innings, without a mess of home runs.

He had a 16.88 ERA against the Yankees (and a 13.50 ERA against the Mets. Maybe it was a New York state of mind?). Against teams that weren’t the Yankees, he had a 5.40 ERA.

By FanGraphs, his fastball was down about an MPH, and his cutter was down 3.4 MPH. I guess you can expect the fastball to drop at age 32, but losing that much on his cutter makes you think he was doing something different.

I feel bad for Chase, now a free agent, with several other free agents out there and this season hanging around his neck. He’ll be 33 going into next season. I don’t know how much guaranteed money he can hope to receive. Teams always want pitching, and, this off-season, it looks like teams are going to be wanting pitchers that come cheap.


For his 2020 season, I would grade Chase Anderson a

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