While teams in the top-five are trying to figure out if Jason Groome or Riley Pint will be the first high school arm off the board, there’s a few high schoolers who will be content going in the next wave. One of those arms happens to be the best high school athlete that New York has to offer in this year’s MLB Draft.
Ian Anderson will have to be a top priority if teams expect him to sign. The 18-year old has been flashing solid stuff for so long, he orally committed to Vanderbilt before his senior year even began. Vanderbilt has been a baseball factory, especially the past few seasons, seeing three of their players — Dansby Swanson, Carson Fulmer and Walker Buehler — go in the first round alone last year.
The Shenendowa High School ace was already making news coming into this season after a strong performance over the summer as one of the pitchers on the Team USA 18U squad. Playing alongside likely fellow first-rounders Mickey Moniak, Braxton Garrett, Blake Rutherford and Forrest Whitney, the Perfect Game All-American helped his teammates earn gold in the World Cup. He pitched primarily in relief, earning a save while striking out eight over 6.2 innings out of the bullpen.
Unfortunately, with the spotlight upon him, Anderson made news at the beginning of this season when he was warming up for an early April start. He was scratched moments before the game, after experiencing abdominal pain. An oblique injury (along with some illness) sidelined Anderson for half the season.
An interesting side note to the injury was that taking his place that day as the starting pitcher was Shenendowa’s catcher Ben Anderson. Ben was not only Ian’s battery-mate for their high school career, but he is his twin brother as well. Switching to pitcher himself during his junior season, Ben swings a bigger bat and is still developing his stuff. With a commitment to Binghamton, some feel that Ben will get his chance in three years, but Ian’s time is now.
What makes Ian so enticing right now is a big, projectable frame and an arsenal that seems pretty advanced. Freshly 18 years old (his birthday is May 2), Anderson’s big frame along with sound mechanics shows that he has room to grow and perhaps add some velocity to his already-advanced arsenal.
He looks pretty solid in his delivery. It’s long and smooth and Anderson doesn’t seem to have issue repeating his motion with consistency. He gets good extension and his arm looks like it just whips the ball at the batter.
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MLB Draft Profile: How high will Ian Anderson go?