While the 2018 White Sox did not have a target on their backs, the upcoming versions of this team certainly will.
The White Sox speedy shortstop Tim Anderson just set a team record. And, he isn’t the first Sox player to set a team record in 2018.
He joins Daniel Palka who just set a record for pinch-hit home runs. These team records won’t make much difference in the 2018 win-loss record, but they are exciting hints about what is coming up in the next few seasons.
Like Palka, Anderson’s record was an offensive one. He is the first ChiSox shortstop to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in one season. He earned this honor after hitting a home run off of Jon Lester in Saturday’s game against the Cubs.
While Anderson is the first shortstop to hit the 20-20 mark in White Sox history, he isn’t the first shortstop in 2018 to reach the milestone. Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians has 36 home runs and 23 stolen bases. Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies also hit the milestone this year with 33 home runs and 26 stolen bases. Javier Baez with the Chicago Cubs hit 34 home runs and 21 stolen bases, but since he has only played shortstop in 56 games, he can’t officially be included as a 20-20 shortstop in 2018.
Anderson actually has 26 stolen bases on the season, which ties him not only with Story but with Raul Mondesi of the Kansas City Royals. Trea Turner with the Washington Nationals leads all shortstops with 41 stolen bases but is still a bit short of the 20-20 mark with 18 home runs.
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The White Sox have had some outstanding shortstops, but not many have been home run hitters. Luis Aparicio stole more bases than any other AL player in nine of his White Sox seasons, but he never hit more than 10 home runs in any single season. The most bases he stole as a White Sox was 56 in 1959.
Shortstops have not traditionally been big home run hitters. One of the most popular recent shortstops, Alexei Ramirez, who played eight seasons on the Southside, was one of the few who did. In his rookie season, he hit 21 home runs, but he only stole 13 bases. After that rookie season, he topped out with 18 home runs. He did steal 20 or more bases in three seasons, but in those seasons, his home-run numbers dropped.
When looking back at outstanding shortstops in MLB history, Anderson joins an elite group. Across the MLB, some of the best players have reached this milestone. The most recent shortstop to join the Hall of Fame, Alan Trammell of the Detroit Tigers, reached the 20-20 milestone twice in his 20-year career. In his 20-year career, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees reached the milestone twice. In 19 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, Barry Larkin reached the 20-20 milestone twice, too. As a shortstop with the Seattle Mariners, Alex Rodriguez hit the 20-20 mark three times.
Congratulations to Tim Anderson on reaching this major milestone in his young career. Hopefully, he can repeat this feat in every single season that he plays for the White Sox.