Despite a very entertaining Opening Day, the 2018 White Sox season hasn’t exactly gotten off to the greatest start. Losing four in a row to two teams that are fairly safe bets to finish last in their respective divisions can put quite the damper on any proceedings. No, this year isn’t supposed to officially mark the opening of the planned window of contention, but it’s important that players who are supposed to be key figures in that shiny golden future that hopefully comes start showing signs of improvement and becoming the guys we’re all dreaming they’ll be. And after a miserable 2017, Tim Anderson is doing just that.
If you’re reading this, surely you know about Anderson’s struggles both on and off the field in 2017 and how more likely than not, the horrible personal issues he endured affected his play. His 17 home runs and 15 steals in 16 attempts were great, but only if you were willing to ignore the 162:13 K:BB and the .679 OPS. But it was a lost season with unforeseeable mitigating factors and it’s in the past. What’s important now is the present and the future.
Yes, it’s only been nine games and small sample size caveats obviously apply but we’re 5.5 percent of the way through the season so I’d like to think we can start making observations about potential trends based on noticeable changes. The main one that you can see without numbers? Anderson actually seems happy again. He’s smiling. He’s hugging Daryl Boston at first base after drawing walks (which he’s already drawn four of this year, putting him only nine away from tying his career high for a season … and we’re only nine games in). The players aren’t automatons and it’s pretty great getting to watch someone enjoy their dream job again.
And then there’s the game-related changes. Anderson’s most impressive skill has always been his speed and he’s made a renewed commitment to getting as much production out of his legs as possible this season, and so far the results have been great. Five successful stolen bases in just as many attempts has him on pace to set a new career high in that category as well. He’s already hit three home runs despite having yet to play a game in temperatures even the most charitable among us would describe as warm. His BABIP is in line with his career norms, so we’re not watching fluky hit luck. We’re seeing what could very well be sustainable changes that would make Anderson into the franchise player the Sox have been hoping he’d become since drafting him. It’s going to be fun seeing if it holds up.
Lead Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports