Nothing ever comes easy for a professional baseball pitcher.
Take Cyclones pitcher Marty Anderson. In a dismal season for team, the lefty has been one of the recent bright spots in the Cyclones rotation, but his rocky road hasn’t stopped him from working hard.
“I bounced around a bit, but that has never stopped me from trying,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s path to the pros hasn’t been traditional; he never threw a single pitch for a Division I college, nor was he drafted. Instead, Anderson’s career began when he joined the Frontier League, part of the Independent Baseball Organization.
He started with the Garden City Wind in 2016, but didn’t get noticed until early this year, after he was traded to the Florence Freedom. It was there that Anderson posted impressive numbers, including a 6–2 record and a 2.96 earned run average — and a one-hitter against the Evansville Otters.
“It was a great confidence boost pitching for the Freedom,” Anderson said. “I learned a lot from them.”
His performance drew the attention of Major League scouts, and the Mets bought out his contract from Florence earlier this season. Anderson grew up in Georgia idolizing Atlanta Braves’ pitching legend Tom Glavine, but said he has no qualms about playing in the organization of the Braves’ division rival, and was actually somewhat familiar with New York even before he got the call.
“My brother is an actor, so I came with my family to visit him a few times,” Anderson said. “I really like New York.”
The Mets assigned Anderson to Brooklyn, and his Cyclones career began with a bang, as he struck out 10 batters in 4.1 innings of relief in his first appearance on July 7. Since being added to the team, he boasts a 2.08 earned run average with 19 strikeouts in just three games. Along the way, he’s had to make some adjustments.
“There has been a big adjustment in the strike zone,” Anderson said. “It was a little tighter in the Frontier League, so (now) I get a little bit more room to work with.”
Then there’s the transition to playing on a bigger stage, transitioning from the Independent League to the New York-Penn League.
“It’s been a huge momentum shift,” Anderson said. “But the coaches and the staff have been a really big pick-me-up knowing I’ve been in Indy Ball, (and that) it’s a been a big change going from there to here.”
Anderson has relied on determination to get this far, and is determined to continue pitching well enough to keep playing before the thousands of cheering Clones fans in Coney Island’s MCU Park.
“It’s just been an amazing experience,” he said. “It’s nice knowing I am doing this well right at the beginning of my career. It’s a dream come true.”