In an age where batting average isn’t quite valued the way it once was, Chicago White Sox SS Tim Anderson’s batting title should still be considered a great accomplishment. Getting a hit is the objective of pretty much any hitter at the plate, and Anderson did that at a higher rate than anyone else in all of baseball.
He barely qualified with 518 plate appearances (502 is needed), but Tim Anderson led all the American League in hitting with a .335 batting average, finishing 8 points ahead of the next competitor. He is just the third Chicago White Sox player to do so in team history.
While being best in the league at anything guarantees some recognition, it begs the question of whether the batting title means what it used to. In the early days of the game, there was no greater achievement than winning the batting title. These days, however, stat lovers and even casual fans alike no longer value batting average the way they once did. While batting average used to mean everything, it now means nothing to some people.
However, Anderson’s batting title should still be viewed as a great accomplishment, especially considering how hard it is to do. In the sport, the objective of any hitter at the plate in almost any situation is to get a hit. Tim Anderson did that at a higher percentage rate than any other American League (and all of the MLB) hitter. While the job of offense is to score runs, the fact is that runs scored still correlates strongly with batting average.
Now, this wasn’t the case with the 2019 White Sox, who finished just 13th in the league in runs scored despite being 5th in batting average. But the White Sox poor offense was due to weak output from the right-field position and DH, as well as poor on-base and slugging skills from other players. Despite his lack of walks, Tim Anderson’s high hit rate enabled a career-high .357 on-base percentage as well. He barely draws any walks, but you don’t need to walk if you’re batting .300, let alone .335. Whatever the problem with the offense is, it wasn’t Anderson as he finished second on the team with a .865 OPS.
Tim Anderson being able to raise his batting average 95 points from .240 to .335 in a single season is incredibly impressive and requires a realization of his skills to do so. He began to improve his approach by going the other way, and he didn’t lose any power in doing so.
Will he do it again? It seems somewhat unlikely that Anderson will hit .335 or win a batting title again given that he still required some luck to get there, but it would be great for him to do it again. He could be a .300 hitter for the rest of his career, even if we look back at the .335 and it ends up a career-best.