The Atlanta Braves tonight selected right-handed pitcher Ian Anderson of Shenendehowa High School, in Clifton Park, N.Y., with their first selection (third overall) in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft.
Anderson, a 6-foot-3, 180-pounder, entered the 2016 draft ranked by Baseball America as one of the top high school pitchers in the country. The 2016 preseason High School All-America selection by Baseball America and Rawlings-Perfect Game was limited during his senior year at Shenendehowa due to pneumonia. In his most recent outing with the Plainsmen on Saturday, June 4, Anderson notched 16 strikeouts in 7.0 innings while allowing one unearned run on two hits.
"We are very pleased to be able to get what we consider one of the top pitchers in the draft. Ian's command of his pitches, especially his fastball, is really impressive for such a young pitcher," said Brian Bridges, the Braves' director of scouting. "He is one of the youngest players in this draft class, and he possesses a "plus" fastball, curveball and changeup."
The right-hander was rated as the 12th-best prospect by Baseball America in the 2016 draft class, and also earned the distinction by the publication as having the "Best Delivery" by a prep pitcher. ESPN ranked the righty as the seventh-best player and the third-best prep pitcher in the 2016 class.
During his junior season for the Plainsmen in 2015, Anderson went 6-1 with two saves and a 0.66 ERA (5 ER/53.1 IP) over 11 appearances. He allowed just 21 hits while striking out 91 in 53.1 innings pitched en route to being tabbed as the 2015 Pitcher of the Year by both Baseball America and Louisville Slugger.
In the fall of 2015, Anderson was instrumental in helping Team USA (U18) win its third consecutive Gold Medal at the World Cup Championship in Osaka, Japan. He pitched in four games, all in relief, allowing just one earned run in 10.1 innings pitched in their quest for the gold medal. During the summer of 2015, he appeared on the East team of the Perfect Game All-American Classic at San Diego's Petco Park and tossed 1.0 scoreless inning with one walk and two strikeouts in the East's 3-1 win over the West.
Anderson, who signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at Vanderbilt University, is a native of Rexford, N.Y. He is the highest selection by the Braves since Atlanta drafted outfielder Mike Kelly with the second overall pick in 1991. For the second consecutive season Atlanta has selected a high school pitcher in the draft (Kolby Allard, 14th overall).
Atlanta's second selection will be the 40th overall pick. The Braves have four selections within the first 76 picks during the opening night of the draft, including the 40th, 44th and 76th selections. The 40-round First-Year Player draft will continue Friday (June 10) at 1:00 p.m. ET with rounds three through 10 and will conclude Saturday (June 11) at 12:00 p.m. ET with rounds 11 through 40. The Braves will select third in rounds three through 40.