Eric Evans/UO Media Services
Monday, June 6, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
Tyler Anderson didn’t have to look far each time he pitched this spring for the University of Oregon to realize they were watching.
Scouts from several big-league baseball clubs — sometimes multiple scouts from each team — would sit behind the home plate backstop with their radar guns to evaluate the 6-foot-4, 215-pound left-hander from Spring Valley High in Las Vegas.
It appears they liked what they saw.
Anderson, a command pitcher who throws all four of his pitches for strikes, is projected by several experts to be selected today in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Entry Draft.
“Our team philosophy and my philosophy is you don’t play for the scouts, you don’t play for the people in the stands, you play for each other,” Anderson said.
It would mark the second straight year a Las Vegas player is picked in the first round, with Bryce Harper of Las Vegas High and the College of Southern Nevada the top overall pick in 2010 by the Washington Nationals. Having the chance to play professional baseball and become a millionaire — a first-round signing bonus is at least $1 million, if not more — is a dream come true for any ballplayer.
That’s not lost on Anderson.
“It’s an opportunity to start another chapter in my life,” he said. “At the same time, (Monday’s draft) will be just like another day. You have to learn to not get too high or low emotionally.”
Anderson posted an 8-3 record this spring with a 2.17 earned run average and a school-record 114 strikeouts in 107 2/3 innings in being named one of 30 semifinalists for the USA Golden Spikes Award for the top amateur player. He also holds the Oregon record with 285 career strikeouts.
Oregon reinstated its program in 2008 after nearly 30 years without a team, with Anderson becoming arguably the best pitcher in school history. He even threw the first pitch after the revival.
“Oregon will have a powerhouse program,” he said. “It’s (special) knowing I helped get it started.”
Last summer, Anderson solidified his draft status with a stellar performance for Team USA’s College National Team. He didn’t give up a run over 16 innings in three starts to help the team take the silver medal at the World University Championships. Anderson struck out 14 batters and only walked three in being ranked as the team’s No. 8 prospect by Baseball America.
Anderson, who was picked in 2008 out of Spring Valley in the 50th round by the Minnesota Twins, won’t have to wait that long this time. College players aren’t draft-eligible until three years after leaving high school.
“Anderson fits the mold of the quintessential pitch-ability college lefty, an advanced arm who knows what he's doing on the mound and should, as a result, be able to get to the big leagues rather quickly,” wrote Jonathan Mayo, a prospect expert for MLB.com.
“He may not have the highest ceiling in the Draft, but as a guy who won't take long to hit a big league rotation, he won't have to wait too long to hear his name called,” the report continued.