Cody Anderson the hitter couldn't hit the curve of Cody Anderson the pitcher.

If Cody Anderson could, Cody Anderson wouldn't be who Indians vice president of player development Ross Atkins considers "arguably now our best pitching prospect."

Anderson posted a 9-4 record and 2.34 ERA in 23 starts with Class A Carolina last season, as he tallied 112 strikeouts in 123 1/3 innings. Just a few years ago, he tried out as an outfielder at Feather River College in his hometown of Quincy, Calif.

"When I tried out for center field, I couldn't hit the curve ball," Anderson said Tuesday at Progressive Field. "So they just said, 'You have a strong arm. Do you want to try pitching?' I said, 'Yeah, I'll do whatever I can to make the team.'"

Anderson had pitched sparingly in high school, as he honed in more on his roles as an outfielder and as a wide receiver and outside linebacker. His mother talked him out of playing football in college, citing an extensive injury history. Anderson wanted to remain active, though, so he took to the mound at Feather River.

"I was on a quick learning curve," Anderson said. "College was the first time I really pitched."

His learning curve only increased once the Indians selected him in the 14th round of the 2011 draft. Anderson pitched strictly in a relief role in college. When the Indians opted to turn him into a starter, he had to boost his endurance, improve his ability to work both sides of the plate and develop three new pitches.

That curve ball he struggled to hit for years? Now he had to throw it himself.