Chicago White Sox’s Tim Anderson, left, slides safely into second base on a double during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Chicago, Friday, June 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
I’ve been using the hashtag #TimAndersonIsFast since he was called up to the White Sox June 10th. It’s not a very good hashtag, I’ll admit. It’s accurate though–you’ve got to give me that–and while his speed might be the most #obvi facet of his game, there’s more to come. The question is when.
Anderson has flashed speed and speed kills. While he’s only stolen two bags so far this year (he’s not been caught), his speed has shown up in other areas. Whether stretching a single into a double, a double into a triple or flashing impressive quickness in chasing ground balls to either side, Anderson uses his speed as a weapon; it sharpens every aspect of his game.
With eight multi-hit games in 17, the hit tool has played well. Yes, Anderson swings a lot. A lot, a lot. And there are fair questions to ask about whether a BABIP around .370 and zero walks in 78 plate appearances is a sustainable player profile–especially out of the leadoff spot.
Typically, Anderson has been swing-heavy and strikeout prone in his first go’s at a new levels. Eventually, the extreme nature of things tends to settle down and be becomes a much more projectable and sustainable player. He’s never going to be Wade Boggs at the plate but he figures out how to take a free pass or two.
To me, here’s where the speed plays in. In the third inning Tuesday night against the Twins, Anderson reached on an infield single to the left side. It was his second infield hit of the season. Despite relatively weak contact, his speed was able to turn him into a base runner. If that buys him an extra hit per week, it would, quite obviously, be a massive boost to the White Sox overall production as opposed to the alternative.
For now, Anderson is working for the White Sox. In a very real way, that’s all they need to worry about. While getting sub-normal first halves from Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu (although he’s certainly come around in June) the White Sox need all the offense they can get. #TimAndersonIsFast has helped set the table. Now the middle of the lineup needs to help speed him on home.
@ 2016 WLS-AM News