Two months ago Brian Anderson made the transition from outfielder to pitcher after the 28-year-old former first-round pick hit just .227 in 355 career games. He first headed down to rookie-ball, quickly moved up to Single-A, and then finished the year with a stint at Triple-A, combining to throw 17.1 innings with a 2.08 ERA and 17/5 K/BB ratio while allowing just 10 hits and zero homers.
Anderson probably would have spent at least part of the second half in the majors had he remained an outfielder, but explained to Daniel Paulling of the Kansas City Star that he simply not longer enjoyed being a position player:
I grew up as a pitcher. I was always a pitcher. Hitting was always secondary to me. I went to [college] more as a pitcher. I was given an opportunity to play center, and I went eight for my first 10 and never looked back. It’s not about being in the big leagues. I should never dread going to the baseball field, and I kind of was just not excited as I should be. At some point, you have to say screw it and do what makes you happy.
Anderson is on the 40-man roster and making $700,000 this season, but it’ll be interesting to see if the Royals continue to protect him this offseason. The early results are certainly encouraging and it sounds like he has legitimate raw stuff, including a fastball that can reach the mid-90s.
The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.
The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.
After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.
Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.
Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.