Tim Anderson’s September is about cementing his progress

The offense isn't all the way there, but the defense has improved enough to make him a fixture

Tim Anderson closed out the White Sox’ season series against the Kansas City Royals by making it all about himself. He clubbed the go-ahead homer in the top of the 12th, then sealed the deal with an outstanding stab and throw from the hole.

So it’s only fitting to make the morning’s post all about Anderson as well.

Let’s start this one by answering a question Wimpys Shovel asked at the top of the recap thread:

Haven’t watched too many games recently. It seemed like Tim was standing more upright in the box than I remember. Any truth to that? It might help him lay off the low pitches over time. Anyways, seeing him have a game like this was great.

A little! Here’s Anderson launching the game-winning homer:

Here’s Anderson muscling a single to left a month before:

He seems to end up in the same position as he starts his swing, but perhaps starting from a different position allows him to time a delivery better. It seems like this new stance has been employed for the month. There’s no detectable difference in terms of his production:

  • Aug: .267/.291/.467 over 111 PA
  • Sept: .262/.279/.476 over 43 PA

But Statcast says his hard-hit rate is starting to rebound after plummeting in July and staying down in August:

This was the reason I wondered whether he would even get to 20 homers by the end of the season, and putting it out to left of center at Kauffman Stadium for No. 19 alleviates some concerns.

Anderson had a strong September last season, one shouldn’t expect a repeat to have any kind of carryover effect because that September has been more productive than any of his months in 2018 so far.

However, while a furious finish helped cover for what was a trying year personally and professionally in 2017, such a September would merely help him lock in detectable progress. Here’s where his year-over-year stats stand:

  • 2017: .257/.276/.402 over 606 PA
  • 2018: .248/.290/.420 over 710 PA

The hit tool has disappointed, especially against breaking balls. But he has more extra-base hits, far more walks and stolen bases, and the strikeout rate is declining as well. If an upswing can get the OBP closer to .300 — or even over it — then it’s easier to see him as on the right track.

The good news is that Anderson’s defense has allowed him to paper over whatever gaps remain in his offensive approach to be a valuable position player. Look at this play to end Wednesday’s game.

Rick Renteria certainly saw it.

Remember the arguments to shift Anderson to center field because he’s not a true shortstop? Good times.

The metrics aren’t quite in love with Anderson’s defense yet. They have him slightly above average, with the early glut of errors being the biggest ding on his UZR score, but it’s all coming together in a compelling package that stands without assistance.

If this is what Anderson is — a hot-and-cold hitter and a plus defender at a key position — the Sox can play with that. They’ll just need other bats that can easily clear a .330 OBP so his weaknesses don’t come to the fore so often.

Between the aggressive approach and exciting defense, he draws a lot of easy comparisons to Alexei Ramirez. That’s great, because Ramirez provided a ton of value on a contract that fit on any payroll.

The downside is that Ramirez went underappreciated by a lot of fans and media in his own time. His flaws were glaring enough that people dwelt on his inability to solve them, rather than accept what he provided and instead focus on the front office’s inability to provide help elsewhere. Maybe Anderson has strides left in him, but either way, the Sox will need to do right by a dependable shortstop this time.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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As a harsh anderson critic the defense has really come a long way. Props to him and mcewing for getting him there. The offense is still iffy but as a 25 year old the progress with the K and walk rates gives encouraging signs. At a minimum he now looks like a solid enough defensive piece and guy who if he is hitting 7-9 in the order is still more of an asset then deterrent on a championship level team.

Patrick Nolan

I’m actually still concerned about the walk rate. He’s slipped tremendously since a much improved start.

1st half: .246/.302/.414 (hey, we’re getting better!)
2nd half: .251/.268/.429 (oh-hoooo, same ol’ Timmy!)


Good point.

Eagle Bones

IIRC the plate discipline numbers early in the season, while they were a bit better from a contact perspective, didn’t backup the uptick in walks.

Yolmer's gatorade

His chase rate has barely changed since last year, so the walks in the first half might be noisy.

Greg Nix

Timmy’s been my favorite player to watch this year. I think he’s got a 5-win season in him at some point.


Yeah – I think it’s not over-optimistic to project the Sox having a 3 WAR player at SS for the next 3 years. That’s not bad.


Is it possible that Tim could be the face of the franchise? This game/season just reiterates his fantastic attitude towards the game, the challenges he’s overcome, and all the hard work he’s been putting towards improving and it’s showing. Compound that with all the stuff he does off the field and the way he reaches out to the fans via social media as well as supports his own team and teammates openly there and you’ve got one hell of a team’s star if his performance can be taken to the next level.


You’ve got to love the kid, even when you want to slap him for flailing at a slider low and away. He works hard to improve, his athleticism is a joy to witness, and he seems to be a good citizen.

As Cirensica

If Anderson produces equally to Alexei, then we are gold. I do believe Tim is overall a tad bit better than Alexei. Has more power, but mostly, Tim started his MLB career younger than Alexei.