Tampa Bay Rays’ Nick Anderson: The Next Superstar Reliever

Nick Anderson (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Nick Anderson (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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Nick Anderson (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Josh Hader Comparison

Of Relief pitchers with more than 60 innings pitched in 2019, Hader and Anderson were the top two in K%, second and third in xFIP, and first and third in Ks per nine.

Here’s how Anderson compared to Hader in 2019. 

  • BB%: Hader (6.9%) / Anderson (6.1%)
  • BB/9: Hader (2.4) / Anderson (2.5)
  • K%: Hader (47.8%) / Anderson (41.7%)
  • K/9: Hader (16.4) / Anderson (15.2)
  • HR/9: Hader (1.8) / Anderson (1.1)
  • xFIP: Hader (2.36) / Anderson (2.44)

The Rays have plenty of extremely capable relievers loaded in their bullpen, but Nick Anderson could be on the verge of Josh Hader-esque superstardom.

When he first arrived to the Rays last season, he struck out 17 batters in his first seven innings while allowing zero earned runs. In case you didn’t do the math, 17 of his first 21 outs were by way of the strikeout.

There were three guys in all of baseball that struck out 40% or more of the batters they faced (min. 60 IP) and Nick Anderson was one of them. Another one was Josh Hader. The thing that separated Hader and Anderson from the third player (Matt Barnes) was the ability to keep the walks to a minimum while the Ks hit the ceiling. Hader and Anderson had walk-rates of about 50% of what Barnes posted.

Anderson should have the first crack at closing duties for the Rays, although the Rays do not shy away from playing matchups. They have plenty of capable arms to entrust Anderson to other crucial moments in the game. Josh Hader became one of the biggest names in baseball out of the bullpen before he was a closer.

No matter where the Rays decide to deploy Nick Anderson, if he continues to put up these types of numbers he will be representing the Rays on a national stage at the All-Star Game as the American League version of Josh Hader.

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