Entering 2016, the rookie pitcher whose debut Rockies fans were anticipating was named Jeff Hoffman. After the season, the one they were talking about was Tyler Anderson. The lefty made his debut on June 12 and immediately became one of the two best starting pitchers on the team along with Jon Gray.
Anderson started 19 games, the fifth most on the team, and proved to be the Rockies' most consistent starter over the last three-plus months of the season. His misleading 5-6 record suffered from poor run support and a bad bullpen, but virtually every other metric shows just how good his rookie campaign was.
Anderson struck out 99 batters in 114 1/3 innings while walking just 28. His 3.54 K/BB ratio was the best on the staff, as was his 2.2 walks per nine innings. His team-best 3.54 ERA was bolstered by an impressive 3.00 mark at Coors Field, where he made 12 of his 19 starts. The resulting ERA+ of 138 was also tops on the team.
Baseball Reference's WAR really liked Tyler Anderson's campaign, as he was the most valuable pitcher on the staff according to that statistic, with his 3.5 rWAR matching Tyler Chatwood, who made eight more starts than Anderson did. Tylers Anderson and Chatwood (please make this a thing) combined for 7.0 rWAR this season.
It's tough to single out a particular shining moment from Anderson's campaign. Maybe it was the home run he hit in front of a sellout crowd on July 9th. Instead of the periodic brilliance of Jon Gray, Anderson's 2016 was characterized by consistently good performances that almost always gave his team a chance to win. He never pitched more than 7 1/3 innings in a game, but he managed to go at least 6 innings in 14 of his 19 starts. Twelve of them were quality starts and, while that's a flawed metric, it demonstrates just how consistent he was this season.
For a former hot prospect who missed most of two seasons because of elbow trouble, Anderson's major league rookie season was as vindicating as it was long-awaited. Let's hope he sticks around a while.
Anderson will remain handsome and under team control for his sophomore season. With better run support, he could turn into one of the hottest young pitchers in baseball.