Florida State baseball has a plethora of arms to utilize in 2020. The pitching staff took a large step forward last season, and should be on course to continue that improvement in 2021. Jack Anderson was one of, if not the most improved player on FSU’s roster in 2020. That improvement came from the addition of Jimmy Belanger and a new breaking ball.
Anderson was the 12th-rated RHP in Florida coming out of Jesuit Tampa high school in 2018, but rarely saw the mound his freshman year. He threw just 7.2 innings, while giving up six earned runs in 2019. In a shortened sophomore season, the right-handed pitcher saw the rubber for 11.1 innings. He gave up just one earned run, six hits, and three walks.
The RHP filled Florida State’s fireman role, often coming in early in games and shutting down opponent’s rallies. In his freshman season, Anderson’s breaking ball was a low-70’s, 12-6 curveball. When Belanger was hired, that breaking ball changed to a mid-80’s slider.
The slider was his best asset in 2020, and kept hitters guessing as he was able to use it in any count. FSU’s staff wanted him to come back with a better breaker and more command in his sophomore year, and he answered the call. Now, he seems to have answered the staff’s call with a significant uptick in velocity.
For the majority of his first two years in Tallahassee, Anderson’s fastball sat in the high 80’s, while sometimes getting up to 91 or 92 MPH. This fall, the second-year sophomore sat in the low 90’s with his fastball and ran it up to 94 MPH. The uptick in velocity has given him more room for error and makes his slider even more dynamic.
The Tampa native also possesses an effective changeup, which he often uses as his out-pitch against left-handed hitters. The CH often sits in the low 80’s and has good fading action. If he continues to develop that pitch and his comfort landing it for strikes, he’ll have a legit three-pitch mix.
Anderson proved last season that he can be effective in multiple different ways. He can eat up lots of innings, but also pitch in high leverage situations. He will be deep in the mix for a weekend rotation spot this preseason. If the fastball continues to sit in that low 90’s range and he is able to spot up his off-speed, he’ll have a good chance at a weekend spot. Either way, the RHP will have a large role in FSU’s rotation this season.