White Sox SS Tim Anderson’s defense continues to be work in progress: ‘We’ve got work to do’
DETROIT — At spring training, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson shared his goals for this season. He said he planned to be more consistent and disciplined at the plate. Likewise, he wanted to commit fewer errors in the infield.
Anderson accomplished the first goal and then some, but his defense remains a weak part of his game.
Anderson owns a league-leading .336 batting average, a massive improvement from his .240 mark last season.
But Anderson leads the league in another stat: Errors. Despite missing a month due to an ankle injury, Anderson has committed 25 errors, which is five more than he had in 2018.
Anderson has the tools to be an elite shortstop. His range and athleticism is unmatched. And his reflexes are that of a cheetah.
So what gives?
Manager Rick Renteria believes it’s a matter of staying focus and being committed to completing plays.
Anderson knows if he wants to be a top-tier shortstop, he needs to shore up his defense.
“We’ve got more work to do,” Anderson said. “This offseason, I’m going to continue to work and get better. And try to do it all over again.”
If Anderson were to minimize his errors next season, while maintaining his offensive production, could he become the best shortstop in the game?
“Yeah, that’s possible,” Anderson said. “I already feel like that.”
And Renteria believes so, too. The skipper also thinks Anderson could be as good as four-time All-Star Fransisco Lindor.
“My hope for him is we cut those [errors] in half … which would put him in a pretty elite class of shortstops especially with his offense,” Renteria said. “It’s possible for him to do it and he’s still going to get better.”
There’s a lot to appreciate about rookie Eloy Jimenez, who hit his second career grand slam Friday. Along with his fun-loving personality, Jimenez has slashed .268/.317/.509 with 29 homers and 75 RBI in 116 games before Saturday’s game.
But what’s impressed Renteria the most has been the way Jimenez has controlled his emotions in the spotlight.
“The best way to describe it is he’s a young man who’s taken the ups and downs of this season and not allowed it to affect him in a grand scheme,” Renteria said of the 22-year-old. “He’s continued to do work, he’s trying to understand exactly what’s going on with him at the plate in terms of how guys are attacking him and he’s continuing to push and persevere.”
In the fifth inning on Saturday, Anderson extended the Sox’ home-run hitting streak with a solo blast off of Tigers pitcher Tyler Alexander. The Sox have hit at least one home run in 15 of their last 17 games.
That was Anderson’s 18th homer this season and fourth one in September.