The Rockies have optioned left-handed starter Tyler Anderson to Triple-A Albuquerque and placed southpaw reliever Harrison Musgrave on the 10-day injured list with a flexor strain in his pitching elbow, according to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. The club recalled righties Yency Almonte and DJ Johnson from Albuquerque to take the spots of Anderson and Musgrave.
Anderson, a first-round pick of the Rockies in 2011, has been a full-time member of their rotation since debuting in 2016. While Anderson’s numbers have gone downhill since an impressive 19-start, 114 1/3-inning rookie campaign, he has nonetheless looked like another solid homegrown arm for the Rockies for most of his career. Prior to 2019, Anderson had pitched to a matching 4.30 ERA/FIP with 8.23 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 42.7 percent groundball rate over 376 1/3 innings.
Unfortunately, things have gone off the rails this year for Anderson, who has opened with five starts of 11.76 ERA/7.52 FIP pitching and averaged a mere four innings per appearance. Anderson did strike out 21.7 percent of batters in that 20 2/3-inning span, right in line with his career mark of 21.8, but he also walked 10.4 percent (well above his lifetime figure of 7.4) and yielded a whopping 3.48 home runs per nine. And though Anderson’s .391 batting average on balls in play, 51.4 percent strand rate and .476 weighted on-base average against indicate fortune hasn’t been on his side, he has still surrendered the majors’ 10th-worst xwOBA (.414).
Neither mechanics nor health are to blame for Anderson’s woes, per manager Bud Black, who says the 29-year-old needs to work on pitch-to-pitch “consistency” in the minors. As they wait for Anderson to work his way back, the Rockies may recall righty Jeff Hoffman to replace Anderson in their rotation, Saunders suggests. Hoffman, 26, was once among the game’s finest pitching prospects, but he has lost a substantial amount of luster in the majors and minors over the past couple seasons. Triple-A hitters have tattooed Hoffman for 19 earned runs on 23 hits and nine walks in just 18 2/3 innings this year.
Meanwhile, Colorado’s bullpen will have to make do without Musgrave for a to-be-determined period of time. Musgrave was subpar as a rookie last season, but he has begun this year with a 3.60 ERA/2.82 FIP and 10.8 K/9 in 10 innings. Musgrave was effective against both left- and right-handed hitters before his injury, though he also walked 6.3 per nine and only induced grounders at a 25 percent clip.