Tim Anderson has been suspended for the first two games of the 2022 regular season. As a result, he will miss Opening Day when the Chicago White Sox takes on the Detroit Tigers.
Anderson’s suspension stems from an incident from last season when he bumped umpire Tim Timmons during a bench-clearing scuffle in Detroit. Timmons was trying to push Anderson away from the mass of bodies when the shortstop shoved him away.
Anderson tried to appeal the suspension since Timmons initiated contact. He was allowed to play in the postseason but his suspension will now bleed over into this year. His appeal reduced the three-game suspension to a two-game suspension.
Missing two games out of 162 is not the end of the world. However, it leaves Tony La Russa with an interesting decision to make. Who will be the leadoff hitter in Anderson’s absence?
Tim Anderson has been the ultimate table-setter for the White Sox. When he missed time last season, his absence from the lineup was felt across the board. The MLB average for leadoff men in 2021 was 262/.332/.431, with a .763 OPS. Tim Anderson’s slash line as a leadoff man was .309/.338/.469 with a .807 OPS.
The Chicago White Sox will certainly miss Tim Anderson for the first two games.
What Tim Anderson provides at the leadoff spot is a spark plug for the rest of the offense. He hits for a high average. He won the batting title in 2019 and finished second in 2020. During that stretch, he owned a .331 batting average.
In 2020 he also slashed .361/.384/.651 with five home runs when leading off an inning. On top of that, he tied for second in the American League with three leadoff home runs. He is a threat on the basepaths as well as he led the White Sox in stolen bases in 2021 with 18.
You combine all these elements and you have the ideal leadoff man for an offense. Those are some big shoes to fill. Luckily, the White Sox have a deep roster with plenty of guys capable of doing the job if Tony La Russa wants to get creative.