The University of Oregon didn't have a baseball program before Tyler Anderson. That's not just hyperbole; it's the truth. Anderson was one of the first players to come onto the team after the university started it back up after a 29-year hiatus.
That's just one of many reasons why Anderson is considered special. He set the school record for strikeouts in a career and has a lot going for him. He's also improved a bit from his junior year to this season. His fastball isn't going to wow anyone, but the Astros have shown a penchant for not caring about that in the past few years.
And it's his secondary stuff that's special. His changeup is a plus-pitch right now. I know ESPN's Keith Law wasn't impressed by it, but go read the scouting reports on Baseball Beginnings. John Klima has seen a lot of Anderson and has nothing but great things to say about the change. Add in an improving hard slider and a big sweeping curve and Anderson has the makings of a four-pitch guy.
Of course, how those other secondary pitches develop will be key to his status as a prospect. A team will have to be comfortable with their growth potential to justify taking him early in this draft. However, he's a heady player who already understands how to be a pitcher. That means he's going to move quickly.
With one great pitch, Anderson could probably already step in as a left-handed specialist in a bullpen. His fastball is passable enough to get by with just those two pitches, which makes this his floor. However, his funky delivery and the way his arm has to play catchup to the rest of his delivery means he's at an increased risk for injury. That's going to make his floor fall a bit from a similar player like Jed Bradley.
Here the truth probably lies between Klima's prediction of a staff ace and Law's fourth starter ceiling. Anderson's fastball velocity will limit his upside, but one thing that has to give Anderson's supporters hope is Cliff Lee. Anderson's control isn't nearly as good as Lee, but that model is what'll get him to the top of some rotation some day, if he develops.
Will the Astros pick him? If so, where?
If the Astros were to take Anderson at No. 11, it wouldn't be the most egregious overdraft I've ever heard of. He's got polish and has shown a little more consistency than fellow lefty Jed Bradley. It also seems like the Astros have been scouting Anderson pretty heavily, so there's a good chance they like him at this spot. However, if Archie Bradley and Jed Bradley are both available at No. 11, it'd be very disappointing if they went this route.
Where is he projected to go right now?
Keith Law has him at No. 24 to the Rays.
Deep Leagues had him at No. 27 to the Reds.
Jonathan Mayo had him at No. 15 to the Brewers.
Perfect Game USA had him at No. 16 to the Dodgers.
Baseball America had him at No. 16 to the Dodgers.
John Sickels had him at No. 30 to the Twins.
Bibliography (Scouting Reports and video)
Below the jump
He's a good athlete who has gotten bigger and stronger and now stands 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds. Anderson's biggest selling point is his feel for pitching. He takes a businesslike approach to carving up hitters and commands five pitches for strikes. He throws both a two- and four-seam fastball, and it sits in the 89-93 mph range with above-average movement. His slider is his best breaking pitch, and he'll mix in a curveball. His bread-and-butter secondary offering is an above-average changeup.
Aggressive 3-pitch LH strike thrower with advanced feel and put-away change-up profiles as No. 1 or No. 2 ML starter.
He'll sit at 88-91, touching 92 or 93, working effectively to the inner half especially to left-handed hitters. His breaking balls tend to run together and neither is more than an average pitch at this point, with the curveball big and slow at 75-76 and a harder slider with a less-than-sharp break. He does have a changeup that could be average but barely uses it.