Height: 6' 4" Weight: 220
Acquired: 14th round pick in 2011
Service Time: none
Cody Anderson didn't enter 2013 high on any prospect lists. I saw him in person at the 2012 Midwest League All-Star Game, but wasn't familiar with him at all until that day, and since even most All-Stars at Single-A will never become MLB regulars, his appearance there didn't convince me he was a prospect to keep a close eye on. It didn't seem to convince most scouts either, as Anderson wasn't on any of the Indians Top 20 lists I saw this spring. When the 2014 editions of those lists are released this offseason though, Anderson's name will be there, somewhere not far from the top, and perhaps ahead of any other pitcher.
Anderson features four pitches, including a plus fastball that sits at 93 MPH and touches 96 on occasion, and a plus cutter with good movement (he also throws a curve and a change, but both are more change-of-pace offerings, that this this point have not developed into plus pitches.
He spent most of the year at High-A Carolina, where, among other things, he worked on extending his outings. Anderson didn't pitch until high school and was a reliever in college, so this was only his second season as a starting pitcher. In 2012 he pitched at least five innings 9 times, and at least six innings 5 times. In 2013 he upped that 20 and 11, adding over an inning per game to his 2012 output.
The innings increase is important, but Anderson didn't just pitch more, he pitched better (and he'd already been pitching well). Anderson was named to the Carolina League All-Star team, and in 23 starts with the Mudcats, he posted a 2.34 ERA, to lead the Carolina League, and was second in WHIP, at 1.10 His strikeout rate climbed from 6.6 (per 9 innings) at Lake County in 2012 to 8.2 at Carolina this season. Those numbers made Anderson the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year. He also won the Matt Minker Community Service Award, given annually to one Carolina League player who's work around the community has been especially impressive.
Anderson was promoted to Double-A Akron near the very end of the season, and that's where he's likely to spend most of 2014. MLB.com is one of the few outlets to have released updated prospect lists for every team; they now have Anderson at #6 for the Indians, second-best among pitchers. They estimate he could arrive in Cleveland in 2015 and comment that he profiles as a middle-of-the-rotation starter. For a player drafted only two years ago as a reliever, that kind of projection is awfully impressive. If you weren't following Anderson before, you should be now.