If someone were to bring up the current White Sox rebuild, people would more than likely start gushing about Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech. Understandably so, as they are all A-list prospects that were just brought in recently due to the Adam Eaton and Chris Sale trades. However, one player who certainly must not be forgotten is second-year shortstop Tim Anderson.
Leading The Youth Movement
Anderson is the first position prospect the club has drafted, developed and promoted to the bigs since Aaron Rowand. His ability to make consistent contact, get on base, and steal bags will be key for the White Sox going forward. Last year as a rookie, Tim batted .283, and added 9 home runs, 30 RBI’s, and 10 stolen bases. In what will be his first full season, Sox fans should see those numbers trend upwards in 2017.
Coming into the league, scouts could all agree that Tim’s hitting and speed were his two best tools. On the flip side, many were questioning his below average defense at shortstop. Well, he seemed to do just fine last year.
With Anderson possessing elite athleticism, expect to see plays like this regularly on the South Side for a while. While he did have 14 errors in 99 games played, those numbers should drop with more experience at the MLB level.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about Tim Anderson is that he did not start playing baseball until his junior year of High School. With his limited experience, both at the MLB level and as an amatuer, it is crazy to think that he climbed the ranks so quickly.
Currently, the biggest concern for Tim Anderson is his strike out/walk ratio, which was an abysmal 117/13. However, it is important to remember that Tim only has 99 games and 410 at-bats under his belt. With more experience, his strikeouts should drop and his plate discipline should become more refined. Tim’s ceiling is a .300 hitter with the ability to steal 25-30 bases a year. His floor is also relatively high, and should at least be able to hit .285 with 15 steals.
Many people have been comparing the White Sox rebuild to the Cubs. A more specific comparison would be to compare Tim Anderson to Anthony Rizzo. Now, I’m not saying that Anderson is going to hit 30 plus bombs next year, or finish in the top 5 for MVP. However, both Anderson and Rizzo are similar in the fact that they were both the first long-term piece to each teams respectful rebuild. Rizzo is captain of the Cubs, and it would not shock me if Anderson becomes the same for the White Sox.
Being a rookie last season, Tim did not talk much. Chalk it up as rookie nerves. As Tim gets older, he will gain a deeper knowledge of the game and be able to help incoming prospects such as Yoan Moncada and Zack Collins adjust. Ex-manager Robin Ventura had this to say about Tim last season:
“He’s quiet, but there’s some confidence and some inner drive,” Ventura said. “He’s not a showboat guy. He just plays, and he’s a hard-nosed kid.”
Tim lets his play do the talking and seems to lead by example, which should delight Sox fans. The one thing that should especially excite people is the confidence that Ventura commented on. Here is a quote from Tim Anderson about a month after he got called up to the White Sox:
“I’m 23 right now, so 15-plus years, 10-plus All-Star Games, a couple of MVPs,” he said. “I have a lot of things in mind. Just have a successful career, be one of those guys that the younger group looks up to, that has that Derek Jeter impression on people. I want to be homegrown and stay in Chicago, be the next guy in Chicago that everybody loves. Like a Michael Jordan thing.”
10 plus all-star games and a couple MVP’s would probably sit well with Sox fans. As the centerpiece of the Chicago White Sox youth movement, Tim has plenty of weight on his shoulders, and it sounds like he cannot wait to bear it.