Tim Anderson single-handedly scored four points on Friday in one of the White Sox’s most exciting wins this season. Tony La Russa gave Anderson the day off on Saturday, and the White Sox had to work to score four points as a team in a trivial loss.
La Russa said the break – Anderson’s second in three days – is due to the Sox playing seven straight games on the turf. It’s unclear if it’s really necessary, but a double-digit lead in AL Central removes any urgency from the debate.
The complaints are more rooted in a simple disappointment not to see Anderson when he rides, and he rides. In his last 10 games, Anderson has beaten .388.
His OBP on this section? Also .388.
The recent increase made up for a slow start to the second half, taking his average to 0.289 in his 30 games since the all-star break.
His OBP on this section? .294.
He only shot one walk in the second half, and he’s not a natural threat to be hit with a pitch because he gets angry, so he’s completely dependent on hits to get to base. . Fortunately, Anderson is one of the few guys who doesn’t have a problem with that. It has reached .320 since the start of the 2019 season on the strength of a .382 BABIP, who is 90 points above the league average, 15 points ahead of the runner-up (YoÃ¡n Moncada) and 37 points ahead of the next non-White Sox (Trea Turner, .355).
Frank Menechino told James Fegan it was an approach he wouldn’t want to teach, but this allows the possibility that it could even be taught, which seems unlikely. Anderson presents himself in this story as someone who just knows how to put their hands where they belong. There are hints of an approach that might help others – he’s moving his feet into the batter’s box to anticipate contact points, and he’s not going into the box looking to maximize damage – but it does take probably a lot of empty bats to shape that future. Anderson had two full seasons of it before it kicked off, but he was a first-round pick who could cover the shortstop during the rebuilding years. Not everyone has that much time to find themselves at the MLB level without inviting a change of scenery.
Either way, Anderson fascinates. He’s anything but a quintessential top man, but it feels weird not seeing him at the top of a roster card. This is something I couldn’t imagine saying about a guy threatening to wear an OBP below 300 during important times of the season.
It helps that the Royals won a World Series with Alcide Escobar entrenched in first place in 2015. He only hit 0.259 / .296 / .322 in 131 batting games, and that’s one of the many reasons the Sabermetrists pillory Ned Yost, but it didn’t seem to matter. Yost seemed to like to thumb his nose at conventional wisdom.
Now take that mindset and apply it to a superior offensive player. The Anderson of the last 30 games may be running the same OBP as a guy who was considered a ridiculous head hitter years ago, but the other slash numbers show why no one is complaining:
- Escobar in 2015: .257 / .293 / .320
- Anderson’s last 30: .289 / .294 / .541
By itself, a .294 OBP isn’t what everyone wants from the start, even for a month. Take a step back, and this .294 OBP represents pure production. If you want to build on that clip, you’d rather accomplish it with a 0.289 stick rather than 0.257, especially if a lot of your hits are above the steps. Anderson is just one of the few hitters with a choice.
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Likewise, Anderson’s counterintuitive mark of success makes a lot more sense when you consider the player as a whole. There is a great story about Anderson in the Washington Post, which is part of a series of nine stories about the decline of baseball among African American players. For Anderson’s chapter, Michael Lee treats him like a figure who is comfortable trying to bend a sport and its culture to his will.
Anderson doesn’t mind celebrating successes on the pitch, as he sees the game as a game designed to demoralize you if you let it. Anderson refuses:
âWe’re playing a tough game, where you struggle every day,â Anderson said. “It’s good to celebrate the positive things and not to belittle yourself because that is going to be a confidence factor to keep improving yourself.” [â¦]
âYou are playing a game that fails,â he says. âIf you play this game and handle it well, then you are a strong person. “
Anderson’s approach gives him the most opportunities to shake things up, to give everyone something to celebrate. He will try to beat the game instead of inviting the game to beat him. While he might be the face of baseball’s future, you might call him a traditionalist at heart because he doesn’t believe in connections.
His confidence at home and on the pitch has allowed him to be defined by what he does, which is harder than it looks for good players producing around a notable gap.
Take the speech around YoÃ¡n Moncada, who boasts a high career walk rate and OBP, a low career strikeout rate, and metrics that show he’s playing the best third goal of his career. He brings a lot more to the table than he takes away, but because his slugging percentage hovers around 0.400 and he doesn’t return fastballs, every ineffective match turns into a referendum on his star potential.
Anderson has the third lowest walk rate in the game, which limits his OBP potential. At 0.330 this season, he’s 31st out of 53 players with at least 100 at-bat appearances this year. He is not really the front man in the classic sense of the word.
By sheer force he redefined the task at hand. He’s not so much of a trainer as he’s just a guy you want to see on the plate, and you happen to be sure to see him out there more often than any other White Sox during the season. , at least when La Russa starts playing it regularly again.
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POST-SCRIPT: Anderson is have another day off today, because La Russa says his legs hurt.
At the very least, it’s good to know that Anderson is using the right part of his body when he puts the White Sox on his back.
(Photo by Zach Bolinger / Icon Sportswire)