Over the offseason, the Miami Marlins discarded relievers Kyle Barraclough and Nick Wittgren in head-scratching trades and retooled the bullpen with Sergio Romo and a bunch of anonymous arms. Among the nameless is 28-year-old rookie Nick Anderson.
Anderson was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Twins for minor league outfielder Brian Schales. He was added to the Opening Day roster after outpacing the pack in Spring Training and is off to a scorching start. In his first four appearances, Anderson has eight strikeouts in 3.1 innings pitched.
“The reason why we picked him up, talk about analytics, this guy was one of the top strikeout guys in minor league baseball last year,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly, referring to Anderson’s 13.20 K/9 at Triple-A Rochester. “I think he may have been the top. So, obviously the Twins got stuck in a roster crunch. They got all these guys. They can’t pick everybody. We were able to get a guy like Nick who’s older and maybe a late developer but he’s been trending this way too.”
Mattingly went into the season expecting to have Romo as the closer with Adam Conley and Drew Steckenrider setting him up. However, he can see the rookie taking the mound in late inning situations.
“I can see it just because there’s going to be days where you used your guys and are gonna be down that day,” Mattingly said, “you’re gonna close with somebody. Nick’s been throwing the ball good. He’s throwing strikes. I think he was a closer in the minor leagues. So everything’s possible.”