In a season that’s been full of starting pitching injuries for the Atlanta Braves, another one arrived on Tuesday: Ian Anderson, who finished fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting and helped the team take home the 2021 World Series, will undergo Tommy John surgery after feeling pain in his elbow during a Triple-A outing last week.
Atlanta Braves right-hander Ian Anderson will undergo Tommy John surgery, sources tell me and @kileymcd. After a difficult 2022 season, Anderson started the year at AAA and struggled in his first start before being diagnosed with a torn UCL. He's expected to return in 2024.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 11, 2023
The No. 3 overall pick of the 2016 MLB Draft out of New York’s Shenendehowa High School, Anderson seemed ticketed for stardom as he tore through the Minors. He made his MLB debut during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and broke out with a spectacular postseason run that helped the Braves reach the NLCS — and made the righty a consensus top-10 prospect heading into 2021.
Anderson was even better in his first full season in Atlanta, going 9-5 with a 3.58 ERA in 128.1 innings and once again shining in the postseason — this time during a World Series run. With a ring and two top-10 NL Rookie of the Year finishes under his belt by age 23, the sky seemed to be the limit.
Alas, Anderson struggled through a miserable 2022 as his velocity dropped and his walk rate spiked. He finished with a 5.00 ERA in 22 starts, and as the Braves’ pitching development machine continued to crank out quality arms like Kyle Wright and Spencer Strider, Anderson’s place in Atlanta’s long-term future seemed cloudy. He entered the spring needing a strong performance to hold onto a roster spot, but all of his 2022 issues remained en route to a 6.14 ERA in three appearances.