WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Former Rider pitching star Chase Anderson visited his hometown Saturday, appearing at a youth clinic. Newschannel 6 caught up with the now-Milwaukee Brewer, and his old high school coach, to talk about his career and his journey from Texoma to the major leagues.
Anderson made a splash in 2014, winning his first five career starts as an Arizona Diamondback, but he knew that no one makes it look that easy forever.
"You know, coming up as a rookie, guys haven't seen you," Anderson said. And the video is out there, everywhere, so once they get that video then next thing, you've got to make an adjustment."
After two years in Arizona, he was traded to Milwaukee, where after a solid first season, he stood out in 2017, going 12-4 with a 2.74 earned run average.
"I think going to Milwaukee the first year, I had to make an adjustment," Anderson sad. "It's tough to pitch at this level and you have to evolve with the game. I learned how to throw a better curveball, and a cutter. And a lot of credit goes to our pitching coach in the major leagues, Derek Johnson."
While the level of success is impressive, it's probably not a huge surprise to his former coach at Rider, Kerry Hargrove. Hargrove now co-owns the Falls Baseball Academy, where Anderson visited Saturday.
"It's neat," Hargrove said. "You know, we think of him back as a high school kid, when he was about 6'1" or 6'2" and weighed about 140 pounds. And to see what he's matured into and the success he's had, it's a lot of fun to watch."
Hargrove knew Chase was special back in high school. When the Raiders went to the playoffs, he always knew which game would be Anderson's.
"We would just simply pick out the hottest day, whether it's Thursday, Friday or Saturday," Hargrove remembered. "He was such a hard worker, mowed yards in his high school days to earn extra money. So we would pitch him on days when it was going to be 104, 105 degrees, and we knew we had an advantage because we knew he had the stamina to last on those type of days."
Now, the postseason is once again the goal for Anderson, who has yet to taste the playoffs in the Major Leagues.
"That's the number-one goal for us, is get to the playoffs," Chase said. "We were one game away last year. Being a part of that, just being part of the group and doing my part and helping this team win ballgames."
This off-season, Anderson signed a two-year extension with the Brewers worth $11.75 million, with options and incentives that could make it worth over $30 million.
He and the rest of the team's pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale, Arizona to start Spring Training on February 14th.