After starting the season with an AL-best 23-11 record, the Chicago White Sox have looked like a flawed and sometimes broken team ever since. In fact, since May 12, they’ve gone 14-26, going from first place with a five-game lead to fourth place with a six-game deficit in the AL Central.
There’s no one specific area where they’ve been great, good or even decent during that stretch. That’s in spite of 12-game winner Chris Sale doing his thing every five days. He’s been the one constant, and that’s not to discount guys like Jose Quintana or Todd Frazier either, who have also been very good.
A baseball team needs more than that to create a strong foundation. They need a core of steady and reliable players who will pull their assigned weight more often than not. That’s what makes the early results for rookie shortstop Tim Anderson so exciting. Two weeks in, he looks like a guy capable of pulling his own weight and then some.
We’ll get a chance to see Anderson’s skills on display Saturday, when the White Sox take on the Toronto Blue Jays in the MLB Free Game of the Day on Yahoo Sports. You can stream the game at Yahoo’s Sports Home, MLB index and video home beginning at 2:10 p.m. ET.
Anderson’s time arrived perhaps a little sooner than the White Sox had hoped or planned. He was called up from Triple-A Charlotte to replace veteran Jimmy Rollins at shortstop, who was designated for assignment on June 10. Of course, Anderson made an immediate impact, picking up a pair of hits in his first game. He’s had normal ups and downs since, but has shown a steady hand overall with six multi-hit games already.
He’s currently hitting .266 and has played a vital role in many of Chicago’s recent victories, including three straight in Boston this week. He’s yet to draw a walk in 59 MLB plate appearances compared to 19 strikeouts. That’s a blemish, but it’s one he can work on over time.
One man he’s definitely impressed is the aforementioned Sale. Anderson set the tone in Sale’s most recent start, leading off the game with his first career home run at Fenway Park.
“He has been unbelievable, very professional,” Sale said of Anderson. “He comes hot out of the gate and then scuffles a little bit and then he’s right back on it.
“There’s very little up and down with him, very little emotion. He keeps himself in check, and that’s a very positive thing to see from someone. It’s not easy coming up here in the position he’s in, with all of the other hoopla that goes with it.”
Naturally, there will be an adjustment period for the league coming soon now that they’ve seen Anderson. How he adjusts to those adjustments will then give us a clearer view of Anderson’s immediate future. As for the long term, his all-around skills are undeniable. It’s just a matter of keeping that confidence and turning him loose.
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