White Sox shortstop has improved mightily on defense and continues to have solid contributions at the plate in his third major league season.
Tim Anderson has received criticism from many White Sox fans who think he won’t last long as a shortstop in the Majors. Although the criticism has been unfair, Anderson has done a good job of improving as a shortstop and is enjoying a good season in 2018 with the Sox.
Defense isn’t the only area where Anderson is enjoying success this season, he’s also been solid offensively and on the basepaths. The 2013 first-round draft pick of the Sox has a career-high fielding percentage at .970 through Friday and has only committed 17 errors. That is still a high number of errors but he’s on pace to finish 2018 with fewer errors than 2017 when he committed 28 errors.
Despite 17 errors, Anderson appears to be making more routine plays at shortstop than he did before. He’s also has made some spectacular plays defensively including one play that ended the Sox extra-inning contest against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night. According to Vinnie Duber at NBC Sports Chicago, Sox third base coach Joe McEwing has been instrumental in helping Anderson work on his defense as a shortstop.
"“I kind of challenged him and said, ‘I’m extremely proud of the progress you’ve made, let’s not stop, let’s not stop here, let’s take it to another level. ‘You say you want to be the best. What does that entail, as far as work-wise, maturity-wise, leadership-wise?’ I challenge him every day to be that leader, take over the infield, make sure everybody’s in the right spot, communicate constantly with each other. And he’s taken it to that level.” Joe McEwing"
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On offense, Anderson is close to becoming just the fifth player in Sox history to record 20 or more home runs and 20 or more stolen bases. On Wednesday night, he hit a two-run go-ahead home run in the 12th inning to put the Sox ahead of the Royals 4-2. It was his 19th home run of this season. Anderson currently has 26 stolen bases.
After hitting just .220 in the month of July, Anderson rebounded in August to hit .267 with a .467 slugging percentage and a .758 OPS. In the month of September, he has hit .262 with two home runs through 11 games played.
There’s still a lot of room for Anderson to grow as a major league player. However, those Sox fans that were certain that Anderson was destined to be a center fielder, will have to realize that he is most likely the team’s shortstop of the future. It will be interesting to see just how good Anderson can become for the Sox when they’re contending soon.