Tim Anderson took over the starting shortstop job last year and looks to be the long-term solution at the position. Chicago promoted Anderson after just 55 games in Triple-A when he was hitting .304 in 256 plate appearances. Anderson's track record throughout the minors has been one of few walks and a below-average strikeout rate, and that continued at the big league level as he walked once for every nine times he struck out. However, he also hit for surprising power, matching his home run output (nine) from his previous 180 minor league contests. He was able to steal 10 bases despite a low on-base percentage. The speed will help his batting average and he has consistently made quality contact throughout the minors. His BABIP has yet to be below .369 in any stop of the minors where he spent longer than two weeks.
Anderson (personal) was back in the lineup Tuesday and went 2-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and an RBI in a game against the Rangers. He had not played since Friday. Anderson, Chicago's newest multi-millionaire, showed why the White Sox locked him up for six years (with two team-option years) earlier in the day. It was the richest contract ever awarded to a player with less than one year of service time (115 days). The dynamic 22-year-old hit .283 over 99 games in 2016 with 37 extra-base hits and 10 stolen bases.
Anderson is out of the White Sox's lineup for the third straight game due to personal reasons, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago reports. Although only the first absence was planned for, Hayes reported that it was nothing to worry about. Anderson enjoyed a nice debut with the White Sox last season, as the 23-year-old slashed .238/.306/.432 with nine homers and 10 stolen bases in 99 games. He'll look to improve on those numbers in his first full major league season in 2017.
Anderson was the White Sox's leadoff hitter in Saturday's game against the Dodgers. He went 1-for-3 with a double and a strikeout. With Adam Eaton, who started 119 games last season as Chicago's leadoff hitter, off the Washington, Anderson is being given the first crack atop the batting order in 2017. He's not an ideal leadoff hitter, as evidenced by a 27.1 percent strikeout rate and .306 on-base percentage in 2016. He's cognizant of what's needed from a leadoff hitter -- seeing more pitches, reducing strikeouts -- but Anderson said he doesn't plan to change his approach too much. White Sox manager Rick Renteria is confident in Anderson's ability to adapt, but also indicated others will get opportunities.
Anderson ranked 10th in Defensive Runs Saved and 11th in Ultimate Zone Rating among shortstops that played at least 800 innings in 2016. Anderson's athleticism was never questioned when the White Sox selected him 17th overall in the 2013, but whether he had enough defense in him to remain at shortstop was. As evidenced by his performance in 2016, his defensive improvement means he'll be firmly ensconced as the team's starting shortstop during the organization's current rebuild window. Offensively, the 23-year-old showed good middle-infield power, but his on-base skills weren't ideal for a top-of-the-order nor was his 27-percent strikeout rate. Those are obvious areas of improvement to look for in 2017, but he's in no danger of losing plate appearances on a team that figures to be in a rebuild mode. Additionally, he has the full support of manager Rick Renteria, who feels Anderson is a threat to opposing hurlers every time he steps in the box.
Anderson (calf) is back in the lineup Saturday against the Twins, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports. A bruised calf forced Anderson from Thursday's game but he will return Saturday after missing just one start. Anderson has hit at a higher clip and for more power than many were when he was promoted earlier this season, but his impact on the basepaths has been limited. He's managed 18 steals between Triple-A and the majors (seven with the White Sox) after swiping 49 bags in 2015.