Baseball

Here he is, ladies and gentlemen: Your 2019 American League Batting Champion and Gold Medal Winning Bat Flipper……

TIM ANDERSON

/PYRO GOES OFF

/CROWD GOES BALLISTIC

/NED YOST SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTS

 

 

2019 Stats

.335/.357/.508

2.9 BB% 21.0 K%

18 HR 56 RBI 86 R

.363 wOBA 130 wRC+ 3.5 WAR

Defensive Runs Saved -9

 

 

Tell Me A Story: In a season where Rick Hahn really needed some pieces of The Future™ to break out and give the rebuild a nice new glossy shine, Tim Anderson stepped up and not only gave Hahn a success story (along with Yoan and a few others), but the White Sox organization a face and an attitude they can market the living shit out of if they do it right. This season can be classified as nothing but a giant plus for Tim Anderson and the team, and while there are a few questions going forward, it’s nice to finally have something to energize the fan base and get people excited about the product on the field again.

Looking at Anderson’s stats this season there are a few things that immediately leap out at you, the first of which is obviously his AL leading batting average and his .508 slugging percentage. The .357 OBP tells you the thing that we’ve known all along as Sox fans, mainly that Tim Anderson is not up there looking to take a walk. His 21% K rate is league average however, which means that he’s able more often than not to put the ball in play. So the big question is how was Tim able to boost his batting average by almost .095 this season? His .399 BABIP suggests a good chunk of those gains were of the batted ball luck variety. Looking at his contact rates shows everything pretty close to his career averages especially in terms of his hard hit rating (32.2%) and his line drive percentages (23.8%). Even looking at his batting average chart shows a player that has very little preference as to where the pitch is. If Tim thinks he can get to it (he does), then he’s going to swing at it.

So a fair chunk of Anderson’s offensive increases this season had something to do with batted ball luck, which is fine. This is the 2nd year of his 4 year career where he’s had a BABIP over .350. The first was his rookie year where his BABIP was .375 which is pretty high. Despite that he still hit .280, so BABIP in and of itself is not the only explanation for his high average. In reality, if his BABIP regresses next season to around .320 (which is statistically likely) you could expect Anderson to hit around .280-.285ish next season. I don’t know of anyone out there who wouldn’t take that from your likely #6 hitter next season, especially if the power numbers stay the same. Again, his slugging percentage was about .100 above his career average and I don’t think anyone expects that to stay the same but .450 would be more than acceptable for that spot in the lineup.

Defensively Tim had a pretty rough year, as the -9 DRS score is the worst of his career. In fact, he’s been negative twice for DRS out of the 4 years he’s played as in 2017 he was a -8. The other two years he was 0 and +6 giving him an average of -2.75 DRS per year. If you add in all of the other advanced fielding metrics like UZR and total errors, Tim grades out to be the worst shortstop defensively since 2017. The question then becomes one that is going to be repeated for the Sox in the search for a right fielder. Are you willing to sacrifice defense for offensive ability? Can Tim Anderson improve enough at SS to creep into the middle defensive tier where it’s a little more acceptable? The talent and ability to play solid D is definitely there, as he proved his rookie year when he was 15th out of 30 defensively in the league. He also has some of the better range and arm strength around. It’s a tough question, and one that Rick Hahn is going to have to answer before he hits the shopping market this off-season.

In addition to all the stats stuff, Tim Anderson is just a fun player to watch. Bat flips aside, he clearly has a ton of fun playing the game. He’s also extremely active in the community, and as a prominent African American playing baseball on the South Side of Chicago, that’s something that cannot be measured. His organization League of Leaders was founded in 2017 after a friend of Tim’s was shot and killed trying to help someone who was being beaten in an attack. In addition to that work, Tim donated $500 to the Anti-Violence network for every stolen base he had this past season. Jose Abreu may be the de facto leader in the clubhouse, but if you combine Tim’s charity work with the passion he shows on the field there’s no doubt the Sox have someone on their hands who can attract a younger, more diverse crowd to their product.

Contract: Signed through 2022 at $4.15 million with team options in 2023 and 24

Welcome Back Or Boot In The Ass: It’s not even a question, as a founding member of The Future™ and a member of the MLB “Let The Kids Play Until We Don’t Want Them Playing So Hard Because It Makes Old People Mad” group, Tim Anderson isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. That being said, there are a few questions this off-season that are going to need to be answered.

1. Is shortstop the ultimate position for Tim Anderson?

2. How much regression is coming for his hitting?

3. Will the new Royals manager hate Tim as much as Ned Yost?

The answer to the first one (in my opinion) is yes. With the impending arrival of Luis Robert and the expected signing of a right fielder in the off-season combined with the fact that you don’t really have a replacement for Tim at short makes me think the Sox are going to be willing to deal with the defensive shortcomings for the foreseeable future.

As to the regression question, I personally would expect something along the lines of .285/305/.790 for Tim next year, using my tried and true mathematical method of pulling numbers freely out of my ass. Anything more than that and you have to start moving his comps up to the Xander Bogaerts level, which I’m completely fine with. Anything less than that would not agree with my model, and therefore is considered an outlier to be disregarded.

As for question number 3, that’s going to be a hard yes forever and ever.

Fuck the Royals.

 

 

 

Baseball

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RECORDS: Royals 53-91  White Sox 63-80

GAMETIMES: Tues/Wed 7:10, Thursday 1:10

TV: Tues/Wed NBCSN, Thursday WGN

Are You Missouri Or Are You Kansas: Royals Review

SERIES PREVIEW POSTS

Depth Charts & Pitching Staffs

Royals Spotlight: David Glass

Talk about your must see TV. A mid September battle between two of the AL’s worst should pull in the viewers, right? Coming into this series, the Royals are on somewhat of a roll, having won their last 3 series in a row. Granted those 3 series were against the Orioles, Tigers, and Marlins, so it’s not like they’ve exactly been slaying the dragons. The Sox actually present their stiffest challenge since losing 3 of 4 to the A’s at the end of last month. One of those losses to Oakland involved the Royals giving up 19 runs, which leads into their biggest issue right now, which is run prevention.

The Royals have languished at the bottom third of the league in pitching since the All-Star break giving up an average of 5.2 runs per game. In comparison, the Sox have rocketed to the top third on the wings of Lucas Giolito and a revitalized Reynaldo Lopez, averaging 4.8 runs a game. The only decent starters in the back half of the season for the Royals have been Jake Junis and Brad Keller, each worth 1 WAR a piece. Unfortunately for Royals fans, the team has shut Keller down as he’s reached his career high in innings pitched with 165, which is 20 innings more than he pitched in 2018. The Sox will see Junis, Jorge Lopez, and moon-faced yahoo Glenn Sparkman, who as you’ll recall plunked Tim Anderson in the dome last time the two teams met and was summarily ejected.

Offensively the Royals are 25th in the league in hitting, a whopping 1 position higher than the White Sox. Jorge Soler quite possibly may have finally reached the potential he always flashed in his time with the Cubs. He’s sitting on 41 home runs thus far, with 102 RBIs which is extra impressive considering he’s only had Hunter Dozier and Whit Merrifield to knock in, as everyone else is lost in the dugout tunnel. Merrifield in particular is having another standard year for himself, getting on base at his usual prodigious clip (.364). Hunter Dozier is also having a breakout year, worth 3.4 WAR so far.

For the White Sox, they’ll send out the best of their starters with Nova, Lopez and Giolito scheduled to take the bump. Hopefully all three will get the offensive support that the Sox flashed in their weekend series against the Angels. Tim Anderson continues his quest for the AL batting title, and this is the perfect pitching staff for him to do that with. Ricky Renteria has talked about putting Moncada back in the leadoff spot, which, whatever. He can definitely get on base, but I’d rather have someone else there as Yoan is more valuable knocking in the runs. I’m curious as to which Eloy Jimenez we’ll get this season, as the one that showed against the Angels was not optimal, but the one against the Indians was cash money.

This is the final meeting of the season between these two teams, and with the Sox holding a 2 game edge all they have to do is win one for the season series. While winning the bare minimum has been the Sox modus operandi thus far I say fuck that, take all 3 and drive home the point that having fun in baseball is not a bad thing and Tim Anderson has more personality then your whole fucking city. Except for maybe Patrick Mahomes.  He’s cool.