Braves select pitcher Ian Anderson with third pick in MLB draft

The Atlanta Braves added to their stockpile of young arms on Thursday, selecting right-handed pitcher Ian Anderson with the third overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft.

Anderson pitches at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, New York, and is in the midst of a state semifinal run with the team. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Anderson has been committed to play collegiately at Vanderbilt.

“We are very pleased to be able to get what we consider one of the top pitchers in the draft,” said Brian Bridges, the Braves’ director of scouting. “Ian’s command of his pitches, especially his fastball, is really impressive for such a young pitcher. He is one of the youngest players in this draft class, and he possesses a ‘plus’ fastball, curveball and changeup.”

The Rexford, New York, native entered the 2016 season as a preseason High School All-American, according to Baseball America and Rawlings-Perfect Game, but missed the first half of his senior season due to pneumonia. His most recent outing for Shenendehowa on June 4 saw Anderson throw 7.0 innings with two hits allowed, one unearned run and 16 strikeouts.

In 2015, Anderson went 6-1 with a pair of saves and a 0.66 ERA in 11 appearances for the Plainsmen. He struck out 91 hitters in 53.1 innings of work and was subsequently named the 2015 Pitcher of the Year by Baseball America and Louisville Slugger.

In fall 2015, Anderson helped Team USA capture its third consecutive gold medal at the World Cup Championship in Osaka, Japan. He pitched in relief in four games and allowed one earned run in 10.1 innings.

Anderson is the highest selection by the Braves since the team selected outfielder Mike Kelly with the second overall pick in 1991. He also becomes the fourth high-school prospect the Braves have drafted in the first round in the past three drafts. Atlanta selected pitchers Kolby Allard and Michael Soroka in last year’s draft and outfielder Braxton Davidson in 2014.