White Sox shortstop off to a dismal start to begin 2017 season. Should fans be worried about the 2013 first round pick or will he rebound?
With the Chicago White Sox in the process of a youth movement, many point to shortstop Tim Anderson as a key cog when discussing the future of the team. However, Anderson’s start to the 2017 season has been anything but ideal, considering he is hitting below the Mendoza Line (.169) with only one home run. Will his bat improve as the months move along?
One key criticism of Anderson going back to 2016 was he did not see enough pitches. This part of his game has not improved in 2017, and to make matters worse he has regressed a significant amount. To illustrate the severity of Anderson’s decline, he saw 3.70 pitches in an at bat last season, yet is only seeing 3.28 in limited at bats so far. That is a drop off of nearly half a pitch (0.42 to be exact), which is unacceptable by MLB standards.
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A lot of this has to do with one key factor: scouting. When Anderson came to the big leagues in 2016, those around the game did not have much to go on. Fast forward to this season, everyone knows how to pitch Anderson, throw him breaking balls out of the zone. Until he stops swinging at the first pitch and balls in the dirt, Anderson will continue to struggle at this level.
Well, what should Anderson do in order to increase his offensive production? The simple solution to this is to improve his aforementioned weakness listed above. However, it takes a bit more than that for an aggressive young hitter to alter his game completely. There is one eye-popping stat sitting next to Anderson’s name: one at bat with a 3-2 count in 59 official plate appearances. Pitchers know what to do with him, and they don’t have to throw strikes to do it.
So, should Sox fans lose sleep at night over Anderson’s struggles at the dish? Due to his plus range in the field, Anderson will make up for any weakness at the plate at shortstop. Given he can’t hit .176 his whole career, but if his DWAR is +1.2 or above most years, those who cheer for the South Siders have no reason to fear Anderson’s slow start whatsoever.
All in all, while Anderson has been dreadful to kick off the 2017 campaign, keep in mind his ascent to star status may not be linear. It could have peaks and valleys, which will be joyous and frustrating at times, but that is a large part of developing young ballplayers. Expect several Sox prospects to endure these moments, so stick around for a bumpy ride.