There isn’t a soul in the baseball universe that would doubt Tim Anderson’s ability at the plate.
The star shortstop is currently slashing .347/.377/.912 and once again looks like the best contact hitter in the American League. But if the White Sox are going to contend for the World Series – their leader needs to take another step on defense.
Tonight, the White Sox have tied the Pirates for the most errors committed in MLB (26).
“Of course we want to make all the plays,” Anderson said when asked about the team’s defensive woes. “It’s not like we’re out there intentionally trying to f*ck up. …We’ve just got to be realistic and understand we’re playing a tough game. All we can do is try to get better. I’m sure everybody had a bad day at work.”
While Anderson’s statement is true — we all have off days — the White Sox defense has been off all season. The White Sox are dead last among 15 American League teams with 26 errors committed, .975 fielding percentage and -14 Defensive Runs Saved Above Average.
Those numbers would alarm any team. A closer look at their win-loss record shows you just how much poor defense has impacted the White Sox this season. The White Sox are 12-3 when they commit no errors, 3-5 when they commit one error, and 0-6 with two or more.
Now Anderson came into this year looking to build on last season’s defensive improvements – then the White Sox arrived in Cleveland. Anderson committed five errors in the final two games of the series, including two in one inning, leading to his infamous middle finger to the crowd.
Anderson let his frustrations get the best of him, and acknowledged as much when asked about it. “I have to apologize for my actions,” Anderson said. “There are a lot of people who really look up to me. I take full accountability of what I did. But it’s something that I have to learn from and grow from.”
The league overturned his suspension, but Anderson hasn’t turned his defensive play around.
The defensive regression by Anderson has been surprising to most, especially considering from 2019 to 2021, he cut his errors from 26 to 10. The last number is pretty impressive considering he had 6 in just 49 games during the 2020 season.
The struggle has been real lately, but Anderson’s work ethic should once again allow him to improve defensively. After committing seven errors in April, he has just two so far in May. Micro as it may be, all the signs for TA7 are still pointing in the right direction.
For many fans and analysts around Major League Baseball, entering the season, the AL Central champ was a forgone conclusion.
The Chicago White Sox, lead by MLBbro and budding superstar Tim Anderson, were headed to their second straight division crown under wily legend Tony LaRussa in what many consider the weakest division in baseball.
Fortunately for Byron Buxton and the Minnesota Twins, pennants are won on the field and not on paper.
While it’s far too early to pick a favorite, Buxton has Minnesota in first place and many wondering if the Central has suddenly gone from a one team demolition to a legit two (or three) team race.
Anderson hasn’t been outdone by much, but even with his success the teams seem headed in opposite directions. Let’s take a look at how this division battle has shaped up so far.
ANDERSON ALONE OUT THERE
Lately the White Sox lineup has felt like Tim Anderson vs. the world. Instead of the explosive offense most predicted, Chicago has been terrible at the plate. As a team the Southsiders rank 24th in OPS, 26th in runs scored, 27th in RBI and dead last in walks.
Chicago’s offense may be awful right now, but Anderson has continued to produce like the superstar we project him to be.
So far this season, Anderson has collected 24 hits in 72 at bats out of the leadoff spot for Chicago. After Monday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Angels, Anderson was slashing .357/.379/.500 over his last seven games.
Anderson already missed two games via suspension this season, and is currently appealing another for flipping the bird at Guardians fans a la Kyrie Irving. But unlike the aforementioned Irving, Tim has been head and shoulders the best ballplayer on his team every time he takes the field.
MINNESOTA GETTING BETTER AS WE GO
The Minnesota Twins offensive numbers won’t blow you away, but over the last seven games Buxton has gotten some help from their prize free agent signing, World Series Champion Carlos Correa. Over the last week of games, Carlos is slashing .357/.419/.393, a sign that Carlos is putting the ball in play, just not out of the ballpark.
Carlos Correa is clearly enjoying this #MNTwins clubhouse:
"We're having a lot of fun. I was telling them, I f**king love this team. I f**king love to be part of this culture. Everybody's a family. Everybody's together. … It's pretty special, what we're building here."
The improved play of Correa combined with lefty Max Keplers .888 OPS have given Byron enough help throughout the first few weeks of the season to propel the Twins to first in the division. If fellow offseason additions like Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela can snap out of their early season funk to contribute, Minnesota may have some staying power at the top the AL Central.
As for Buxton, the concerns about his health remain and the threat of injury hangs over any projections we make about him. Buxton has always produced when on the field, often putting up numbers in spurts that compare to Mike Trout.
If Big Bux stays in the lineup all season, the Twins will be a formidable opponent the remainder of the season.
Both TA and Buxton have been close to their A games all season, the only question remaining is which one’s supporting cast will catch up quickest.
Tim Anderson has embraced playing in the city of Chicago and over the past few years, he’s become one of the most exciting players to watch in all of baseball.
The White Sox have been looking for the player who brings that emotion and swag to the game, and Anderson is the perfect player.
Our MLBbro put together an impressive season last year where he hit .309 with 17 home runs, 61 RBI and 18 stolen bases. He also was selected to play in the All-Star Game for the first time in his career.
There’s no question that he’s made an impact on the field, the numbers don’t lie.
But is Anderson still considered underrated?
For the past three seasons, he’s batted over .300 and during that span he received some honors as well. In 2019 he was crowned the American League batting champion after hitting .335 through 123 games.
During the COVID-shortened season in 2020 he won a Silver Slugger Award after hitting .322 with 10 home runs in 49 games.
His career numbers have been impressive too. Going into his seventh season, Anderson has a .286 batting average with 93 home runs and 234 RBI.
It’s no surprise that Anderson can swing the bat, he’s shown us that he’s been one of the top hitters the past few seasons and he doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. And he can do more than just hit to get on base. He has pop in his bat and that should not go unnoticed.
One thing that makes Anderson stick out from others is his passion for the game. He will certainly let you know how he’s feeling out on that field when he’s fired up. Anderson’s passion has garnered more attention than his high level of baseball skill so far this season.
He started the season by serving a suspension for making contact with an umpire last season. Minor offense but detracts from his excellence. Then flipping the bird at opposing fans after he botched four plays in two games, which resulted in another suspension.
That kind of emotion comes with the package, but Anderson’s ability should be leading the headlines. Not his hot head. Baseball needs all of the swag it can get, but it must be channeled properly.
Whether he’s hitting a walk-off home run or making a game saving play at short, Anderson’s energy is not overlooked. He also has that confidence and swag that he carries with him all the time and let’s be real, that’s what baseball needs and has been missing for a while.
And Anderson just doesn’t talk the talk, he can back it up with his play too.
If he wasn’t playing at a high-level like he’s been doing, then an argument could be made about him not performing on the field, but that’s not the case.
When you think of the top shortstops in the league today, Anderson deserves to be in that conversation.
He’s a proven leader and he has the numbers to show for it as well.
For those who are still sleeping on Anderson, y’all need to put some respect on this man’s name.
Anderson will have a long career in the league and if he can remain healthy, he can continue to rack up more awards and play in many more All-Star Games.
This MLBbro has impacted the game and made it more exciting for fans to watch and he’s doing all this while giving back to the community where he plays too.
Anderson will be a player that people will talk about long after he’s done playing.
Heckling Fans in Cleveland Get a ‘Flippin’ Reaction
Tim Anderson can’t get up.
After serving a two-game suspension to start the season, Chicago White Sox star shortstop Tim Anderson has made headlines for his display of flipping off the Cleveland Guardian home crowd.
Usually, one of the chillest Bros in the game (except when he’s celebrating a dinger) Anderson lost his cool a bit after experiencing some uncharacteristically bad defense.
Baseball is a game of extreme highs and constant lows. Anderson has been fortunate enough not to fall into the MLB matrix that can turn awesome players into mental messes in the flick of a wrist. He’s won a batting title and generally fields his position well.
In Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Guardians, Anderson felt the tension of the division rivalry early on.
He made a crucial throwing error in the first inning, which gave the Guardians the first run of the game. Anderson cut himself down again, making two more errors in the second, resulting in the Guardian’s 11-1 rout over the White Sox.
With the noise in his ear and emotions riding high, Anderson made a poor judgment call that struck him down even further. All eyes were on him as he flipped the bird to the Guardian faithful at Progressive Field. TV cameras caught the infielder in frustration in a video that has now gone viral.
Although social media actually took it in stride, the action will most likely result in a fine and another potential timeout for the White Sox shortstop. Anderson has already served a suspension for making contact with umpire Tim Timmons during the ninth inning of a game on Sept. 27.
Anderson is following a current trend in sports, using his finger rather than his play to make a statement on the playing field. Brooklyn Nets star guard, Kyrie Irving, gave Boston Celtics fans the double bird during Game 1 of the 1st Round of the NBA playoffs.
When asked about his actions during the game, Anderson brushed the media aside.
He was quoted after the loss saying:
“I feel like I’m getting to the point where I need to change the game.” However, he did add that this experience will be a “good way to grow.”
Anderson has always been a player that wants to bring excitement to America’s pastime. However, the baseball purists would probably not appreciate gestures like the one he displayed on Wednesday.
To add insult to injury, in Game 3 of the series on Thursday, Anderson made another error on his first attempt at fielding the ball. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s his fourth error in this series alone. To put that into perspective, Anderson only had 10 errors at shortstop all of last season.
When the baseball gods are out to get you… they really do not let up.