Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Brett Looks to Build

Friday, August 24, 2012

No one knew what to expect when Brett Anderson took the hill in Oakland on Tuesday night for the first time in 13 months.

Previously one of the most impressive young pitchers in the game, Anderson had been shelved for over a year by Tommy John surgery, and while he'd shown good control in a six-start minor-league rehab stint, he also got knocked around a little bit. Some bumps in the road are to be expected in the path back from elbow surgery.

As it turned out, Anderson's ride couldn't have been smoother in his 2012 MLB debut. The lefty shut down the Twins, allowing just one run on four hits in seven innings while striking out six and walking none. His fastball velocity was good, his breaking pitches sharp and his command excellent.

If you exclude his final two ugly starts before going under the knife last year (when elbow soreness was likely a factor), the 24-year-old is 11-10 with a 2.76 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 137-to-42 K/BB ratio in 192 innings since the start of the 2010 season. Phenomenal.

His sterling performance this past week is hardly a guarantee that he's fully returned to form, but Anderson is immensely talented and it was a heck of an encouraging sign. Fantasy owners in need of a pitching boost should be scurrying to add him, and with two relatively favorable starts lined up for The Week Ahead, there's no time like the present.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Brett Anderson: @CLE (Hernandez), BOS (Buchholz)
David Price: @TEX (Holland), @TOR (Morrow)
Felix Hernandez: @MIN (Hendriks), LAA (Santana)
Scott Diamond: SEA (Iwakuma), @KC (Mendoza)
Jered Weaver: BOS (Morales), @SEA (Iwakuma)
Chris Sale: @BAL, @DET (Sanchez)
Clay Buchholz: KC (Hochevar), @OAK (Anderson)

Decent Plays

Derek Holland: TB (Price), @CLE (McAllister)
James Shields: @TEX (Darvish), @TOR (Romero)
Hisashi Iwakuma: @MIN (Diamond), LAA (Weaver)
Tommy Milone: @CLE (McAllister), BOS (Morales)
David Phelps: TOR (Romero), BAL
Luis Mendoza: DET (Sanchez), MIN (Diamond)
Luke Hochevar: @BOS (Buchholz), MIN (Hendriks)
Anibal Sanchez: @KC (Mendoza), CWS (Sale)
Francisco Liriano: @BAL (Tillman), @DET (Scherzer)
Zach McAllister: OAK (Milone), TEX (Holland)
Chris Tillman: CWS (Liriano), @NYY (Garcia)

At Your Own Risk

Liam Hendriks: SEA (Hernandez), @KC (Hochevar)
Roberto Hernandez: OAK (Anderson), TEX (Feldman)
Franklin Morales: @LAA (Weaver), @OAK (Milone)

National League

Strong Plays

Stephen Strasburg: @MIA (Nolasco), STL (Westbrook)
Kyle Lohse: @PIT (Correia), @WAS (Zimmermann)
Matt Cain: @HOU (Norris), @CHC (Wood)
Yovani Gallardo: @CHC (Wood), PIT (Bedard)
Wade Miley: CIN (Cueto), @LAD (Capuano)

Decent Plays

Jake Westbrook: @PIT (Burnett), @WAS (Strasburg)
Vance Worley: NYM (Young), @ATL (Hudson)
Marco Estrada: @CHC (Germano), PIT (Karstens)
Chris Capuano: @COL (Chatwood), ARI (Miley)
Bud Norris: SF (Cain), CIN (Arroyo)
Bronson Arroyo: @ARI (Cahill), @HOU (Norris)
Travis Wood: MIL (Gallardo), SF (Cain)
Trevor Cahill: CIN (Arroyo), @LAD (Blanton)

At Your Own Risk

Joe Blanton: @COL (Francis), ARI (Cahill)
Jeff Francis: LAD (Blanton), SD
Justin Germano: MIL (Estrada), SF (Lincecum)

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Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to Rotoworld's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter at nnelson9.
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