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).
Tim Anderson alone has committed more errors than the Yankees as a team, and as many as the Royals. pic.twitter.com/SSoVh31B3j
— MLB Hater Muse (@MLBHaterMuse) May 10, 2022
“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.