Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago White Sox enter the upcoming season with a question mark at the shortstop position, after the departure of long time fan favorite Alexei Ramirez this past November. At the current moment the immediate solutions for the shortstop position seem to be a mix of Tyler Saladino, and Carlos Sanchez. Those two solutions still beg the question, what can we expect from Tim Anderson?
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Anderson has been dubbed as the future at shortstop for the White Sox by many, and the 2013 first round pick in the MLB Draft is coming off of an excellent 2015 campaign for the Birmingham Barons. In 125 games Anderson hit .312 while swiping 49 bases for the Barons in 2015. Anderson also accumulated five HRs, 46 RBIs, 21 doubles, and 12 triples this past season.
The major consensus so far this offseason has been that Anderson will not be ready to join the White Sox until the 2017 season, although some scouts and annalists feel confident that Anderson could come up to the major league club sometime in 2016 and make an impact for the White Sox.
For example; FanGraphs’ Steamer Projections have Anderson playing in roughly 70 games this season. They project him to have 207 plate appearances, and hitting a respectable .258 with three home runs and 20 RBIs.
As far as Anderson’s offensive production is concerned I feel that he is ready to make the jump to the major league level. He hits for a high average, he has excellent speed and base stealing ability as well. He has the potential to help create runs, as well as some balance in a lineup full of mostly power hitters including the likes of Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier.
The one concern that scouts have had about Anderson is his defensive ability at the shortstop position. Anderson racked up a whopping 25 errors in 2015. Believe it or not, that is an improvement from the 31 errors he amassed the year prior. Signs point to him getting better defensively moving forward according to scouts, and worst case scenario would be an eventual move into the outfield for Anderson.
Much like Micah Johnson last spring, Anderson will have the opportunity to prove that he is major league ready during the spring training games where he will surely get a long look by Manager Robin Ventura. Johnson surprised scouts and coaches last spring with excellent production, and was rewarded with the starting job at second base to begin the regular season. Unfortunately for Johnson, a questionable glove and an even more concerning maturity level caused Johnson to be demoted mid way through May.
Hopefully the speedy Anderson can have the same type of success this spring, and make the club as the starting shortstop heading into 2016.