White Sox rookie succeeding after initial struggles. The shortstop has improved offensively.
Tim Anderson started his White Sox career in impressive fashion on June 10. The rookie shortstop’s first game with the team was memorable as he began his big league career with a double.
With Anderson taking over as the full-time shortstop, the team’s first round pick in 2013 was solid offensively in his first month. Anderson’s batting average was as high as .314 on June 30. However, the young shortstop would eventually hit a wall after his hot start.
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A common occurrence with young players happens whenever they have a hot start to their career. The league makes an adjustment thanks to advance scouts, and its up to the player to make counter adjustments.
After a torrid start to his career, Anderson began to cool down. Anderson had a solid outing just before the All-Star break on July 10, as he collected two hits. While Anderson’s average sat at .304 after the game, he would experience his first setback in the majors after the All-Star break.
Pitchers began exploiting Anderson’s aggressive approach at the plate. Through July 10, Anderson had walked just once. With an over-anxious but effective approach, Anderson’s weakness of swinging often began to hurt him.
Anderson began the second half poorly as he went three consecutive games without recording a hit. The native of Tuscaloosa, AL was starting to struggle with outside pitches. From July 15 through August 4, Anderson saw a majority of pitches low and away. With a propensity to swing often, Anderson’s aggressive approach was greatly exploited.
According to data compiled by BrooksBaseball.net, Anderson saw 10.32 percent of pitches below the outside of the strikezone. He saw 9.25 percent of pitches in that time span outside and away from the strikezone. The reasoning behind pitchers exploiting these areas was due to Anderson continuing to chase bad pitches.
Anderson’s swing rate was tremendously high in these two areas as well. This gave pitchers more reassurance to keep exploiting these areas. The swing rate for Anderson below the outside of the strike zone was 58.6 percent. His swing rate on pitches low and away from the strike zone was 34.6 percent.
During this tough stretch for Anderson, the rookie’s batting average reach as low as .264. Despite the first taste of struggling for Anderson, he has been able to bounce back admirably over the month of August. While Anderson continued to see pitches in two of his most vulnerable areas, he began to lay off more often then before.
From August 5 through August 29, Anderson decreased his swing rate when chasing bad pitches. Anderson’s swing rate below the outside corner of the strike zone dropped to 47.6 percent. His swing rate low and away from the outside corner of the strike zone dropped to 26.8 percent. Anderson’s adjustment to laying of pitches out of the strike zone is starting to pay off.
In Anderson’s last 15 games, he’s hitting .356 with two home runs and seven runs batted in. Although he’s still striking out at a high rate, he’s started to take more walks at the plate. Anderson has five walks in his last 30 games, and is on-base percentage sits at .305 for the season. Anderson still has work to do offensively however, but that improvement should come with more plate appearances.
With the White Sox out of contention, the next month of the season will give Anderson a chance to improve on his totals. The speedy shortstop has four stolen bases in his last 30 games, with a total of seven on the season. If Anderson can get on base more often as he has recently, expect him to steal more bases.
Anderson has became a rare commodity for the White Sox. With a franchise that hasn’t developed a position playing All-Star since Joe Crede, Anderson could very well find himself as an All-Star someday. Anderson has the necessary tools to become a solid contributor on offense, and White Sox fans will certainly like to see him continue making counter adjustments moving forward.