Brewers: Was Chase Anderson’s 2017 breakout legitimate?

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 09: Starting pitcher Chase Anderson
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 09: Starting pitcher Chase Anderson /

Chase Anderson had a career-best season in 2017 for the Brewers. Now given an extension by Milwaukee, what can fantasy owners expect from him in 2018?

Fantasy success is a combination of a solid draft and jumping on breakout stars off the waiver wire. Chase Anderson emerged on the fantasy radar in 2014 for the D’Backs as a solid streaming option. When sent to the Brewers as a part of the Jean Segura deal, no fantasy owners were expecting a breakout season.

But, that is just what he did.

Anderson had posted no lower than a 4.01 ERA over his first three MLB seasons. He averaged around 7 K/9 and amassed no more than 120 K across any season.

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He was a league average pitcher in a hitter-friendly park and lacked overpowering stuff. In a deep pitching pool, he was regulated to being nothing more than a deep league flier.

Yet, the move to Milwaukee seemed to transform Anderson, as he finished the season with a 12W/2.74 ERA/1.09 WHIP/133 K line.

Anderson saw his fastball by nearly 2 mph, and highlighted his cutter more in 2017, over 15%, as opposed to the expense to his changeup. He still features a five-pitch mix, but the improvement of his cutter definitely led the way to his success.

He generated over a 15% Whiff rate with his cutter, combined with his velo uptick, and improved command, it is easy to see what led to his breakout.

The real question is, can he get close to repeating it?

Anderson had two down months this season. In May, he was racked to the tune of a 5.61 ERA and in August he missed time due to injury. Yet, the other three months of the season were fantastic. He posted no higher than a 3.38 ERA across that span, so it was not as though he ever faded during the season.

Digging into his batted ball data, Anderson still posted a high 43% FB rate but saw his LD rate drop by 4% to 18%, and his GB rate jump over 3% to 39% from a season ago. The improved arsenal certainly played a part, and it is not as though he was extremely lucky in one area.

His SIERA was 4.14, and his FIP was even better at 3.58. Both of these are supposed to eliminate the “luck” factor, but they still offer good baselines for fantasy owners.

With an improved arsenal, improved velocity, and generally better command, Anderson’s breakout is legitimate. Even though he missed time with injuries, he does not have a checkered health record, and even at 30 years old, he lacks prolonged wear and tear on his arm.

Chase Anderson is the best pitcher on the Brewers and their extension solidifies that. Is he a fantasy SP1 or SP2, no. But, the breakout can be supported by tangible evidence, and his resume shows that he has found decent success before the improvements.

Next: Padres: Dinelson Lamet a SP sleeper in 2018?

Believe in the breakout, and target Chase Anderson in the mid-rounds next season.