Ian Anderson won’t be with his Class AA Southern League Mississippi Braves teammates this weekend. He will be rocking out in Cleveland.
Anderson, the Shenendehowa High School graduate and first-round selection by the Atlanta Braves in the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft, will be pitching for the National League prospects against the American League prospects in the All-Stars Futures Game at Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians and host to Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game. The Futures Game will take place at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Anderson, ranked as the No. 3 Braves prospect by MLB Pipeline, is ready to show off his pitching skills.
“I’m pretty excited to get out there and to be able to take part in the event and meet with some of the other guys from other teams,” Anderson said, “and showcase what I can do.”
And with the excitement comes some anxiousness.
“I’ll probably be a little bit nervous just because of the stage,” Anderson said. “It’s something that, once that first pitch is thrown, [the nerves] will kind of subside.”
Anderson wasn’t the only one thrilled to be going to Cleveland.
“My dad is pretty excited,” Anderson said. “[The game] is on his birthday. He’s pretty pumped to get out of Albany and make a little trip out of it. It was definitely exciting.”
Anderson is coming off a short outing in his last start on Wednesday against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He gave up three hits in one inning, but didn’t allow a run. Anderson was taken out after the first inning because of his Futures Game appearance.
He doesn’t know his role for the game will be, but he’s ready for whatever they tell him to do. Anderson is hoping it will be a successful opportunity.
“I’m not sure,” Anderson said. “It’s probably going to be only one inning. I’m not sure if I’m going to be starting or coming in [relief]. I probably just want a clean inning. Just go out there and not throw too many pitches and be able to work for an inning and enjoy it.”
Anderson is in his fourth season in the Braves organization. The 21-year-old right-hander has a 15-19 career record with a 2.71 earned run average with 392 strikeouts and 147 walks.
This season with Mississippi, Anderson is 6-5 in 17 games, all starts. He has a 2.91 ERA with 113 strikeouts and just 43 walks in 86 2/3 innings. Opponents are batting just .200 against him.
“It’s been going good,” Anderson said. “I’ve had a few rough [outings] mixed in there, and have been able to bounce back pretty good from those. It’s all just part of the season and part of the learning process. I’m happy with where I’m at. I think, overall, it’s been a pretty good season so far.”
In his June 28 start against the Jackson Generals, he combined with reliever Jeremy Walker on a no-hitter, the first of Anderson’s career. Anderson struck out 14 and walked two. He threw 103 pitches, 66 for strikes.
“It was awesome to be a part of,” Anderson said. “The guy who came in to close it out is one of my good buddies. To see him to be able to do that [was exciting]. I think it was the third no-hitter in Mississippi Braves history. That was pretty cool.”
Anderson’s twin brother Ben was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 13th round of last month’s MLB Draft. He was very happy for him.
“I was ecstatic,” Anderson said. “I was following it for the whole time. He’s really excited to be with the Rangers. He’ll have a good shot to pitch there and move up the ranks. He couldn’t be happier, that’s for sure.”
On Twitter, follow Associate Sports Editor Ken Schott @slapschotts and Daily Gazette Sports @dgazettesports. Email Schott at [email protected]. Listen to “The Parting Schotts Podcast” on dailygazette.com.