Thursday, June 1, 2017

PhoulBallz Interview: Reading RHP Drew Anderson

Drew Anderson, image- Jay Floyd
In six May starts right-handed pitcher Drew Anderson posted a 2-2 record with a 2.88 ERA with a .203 batting average against while striking out 34 and walking nine in 34 1/3 innings for Double-A Reading. 

That exceptional month followed up a lackluster April in which he posted a 1-0 record with an 8.59 ERA and a .333 batting average against while striking out nine and walking six in 14 2/3 innings over four starts. 

The six-foot-three, 185-pounder was the Phillies' 21st round draft selection in 2012.  Since returning from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in April, 2015, Anderson has drawn attention as one of the organization's most promising young hurlers. 

Recently, I sat down with the 23-year-old to inquire about his ups and downs this season along with the buzz surrounding his name entering the 2017 campaign, his team and plenty more.  Read ahead for that interview.


-Coming into the season, there was some excitement, some buzz around your name.  Some were saying things like, "This guy is THE underrated prospect in the Phils system."  Did you hear any of that chatter and what did you think of that type of review?

Yeah, I heard a little bit about it.  It was exciting.  It's about getting out and showing my name, but, yeah, it's been good.

-When the buzz is there, is there any additional-- I'm sure you wouldn't feel or use the word pressure, but is there any excitement behind what you're trying to do?

Not really.  Just going out there and doing what I can do.  Just trying to win ball games.

-On this club, included with you, are some well regarded prospects.  Among them is Scott Kingery.  I asked him about his torrid offensive pace, if the team was excited behind him.  He said some of the guys might be joking with him that it's not exciting anymore because he's hitting homers too often.  What's it like for you to be watching his surge at the plate?

Oh, it's always exciting.  I love baseball, playing it.  It's always exciting.  

-For this Reading rotation, with each of the five main starters having ERA's that are rather high (five starting pitchers including Anderson had marks higher than 5.00 at the time of this interview).  What's your feeling on you output or your stat line right now?  

Honestly, I don't even know it.  We're just still trying to do what we can do.  Get some wins.

-So when you say you don't know (your ERA), that's remarkable to me, where a guy wouldn't pay attention to his own stats at least to know where he stands and keep tabs on the ups and downs of a season.  Is that something that you make habit of, to not know what your statistics are?

I mean, I just don't really-- it doesn't bother me.  As long as my innings are there, everything else will be there.

-Okay.  What is some of the feedback you're getting from the coaching staff right now?  I got some good feedback on the starting rotation from (team manager Greg) Legg.  Any memorable feedback coming from pitching coach Steve Schrenk or anyone else right now?

Yeah, we're all just still developing.  So we're still just getting out there.  Doing what we do.

-I don't mean to challenge you or anything like that, but I feel like I'm getting short answers or maybe stock answers.  That could be your style and I don't have a problem with it, I'm just trying to see if there's any feelings you have with or toward the efforts right now.

No feelings.  We're in second place.  I think we're just right behind Trenton, so we're winning ball games and that's all that matters, really.

-The reports on you, when we talked about that buzz earlier, were the velocity was up for you and you had taken strides since returning from surgery.  Did you notice that was helpful for you, the added ticks on the velocity?

Again, I honestly don't know what my velocity's been at.  I don't really check that.

-I'm surprised, man.  I feel like there's many, many guys that I talk to that at least have sort of a self-inventory in some fashion.  Whether it's their stat line or some other gauge of success.  What's the focus for you-- you mentioned standings and team win-loss record, but there's got to be some way you keep tabs on your success.  What's most meaningful to you at the end of a start?

Just how I feel the next day.  If my body feels healthy.  That's all that matters.  And if we won that day.

-Chace Numata is the primary backstop for this club.  What thoughts can you share on the battery mates you have here with Reading?

I love Chace.  We've been together since, wow- I've been throwing to him for a while.  He's good.  I like him a lot. 

-What's it like playing in Reading right now, in front of fans that really, for the most part, grew up as Phillies fans and want to see all of you guys become the next big thing for the top club?

I mean, I feel like everyone loves it.  Everyone's great.  Just- the Phillies fans, they love it.  They love baseball.

Anderson, image- Jay Floyd
-What are your feelings on the volunteering that's expected of the players on the roster and interacting with that community?  Is that something that you look forward to?

Yeah, that's what being a professional baseball player is all about, is helping out the community.  And we always have sign-up sheets and everything and we all get out there and contribute to the community.

-I know you have some social networking accounts.  I don't know how active you are on them.  Do you get a lot of fan interactions going on with those and do you enjoy it?

I mean, I'm not a big tweeter or anything like that, but every now and a again a fan will reach out and that's kind of cool.  I mean, I'd favorite it, I guess.

-(As teammate Jesen Therrien was walking by, I pointed directly at him, jokingly)  Do you have a favorite reliever on this team?

They're all my favorite!

-Some times a roster can be split into factions with relievers and starters hanging out with one another or Latinos and Americans split up a bit.  What's the vibe in that regard with this Reading team?

We're all good.  I don't speak Spanish, but (the Latino guys) all speak English, so we all get along.  I love them all. 
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