Tim Anderson Aiming To Take Next Step

"I got a shot to be really good," Anderson says.

Bruce Levine
March 20, 2019 - 8:18 pm
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson

Jeffrey Becker/USA Today Sports

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GLENDALE, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- While the White Sox aim to take a step forward competitively in 2019, their focus will largely be on player development as well.

One of those who will be under the microscope is 25-year-old Tim Anderson, who in 2018 became the first shortstop in franchise history to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in a single season.

"I am curious to see how my hard work in the offseason pays off," Anderson said. "I think I got a shot to be really good. I don't need outside influences to get better. I am going to get better on my own."

Anderson hit .240 with 20 homers, 64 RBIs, 77 runs and a .687 OPS in 153 games in 2018. He hit .246 with a .716 OPS in the first half before those marks dropped to .231 and .644, respectively, in the second half. 

Defensively, he had 10 errors in the team's first 53 games, then showed improved concentration in that regard with only 10 errors the rest of the way. Anderson took better routes to the ball and found a rhythm in making the routine play. 

"The second part of the year I started to say 'wow' to myself on how much the defense became more natural," Anderson said. "I think it will only get better. I am able to make all the plays and throw with confidence from all angles. (Bench and infield coach) Joe McEwing does a heck of a job with me and the others on defense. We go to work on things every day. We have taken strong points of practice into the game now." 

Boasting a free spirit, Anderson had a few run-ins last year with opposing players who took exception to his aggressive play and hard-sliding style. He has no plans to change his approach, believing it helps set the tone for the White Sox.

"Look, I know where I want to be at in life and on the field," Anderson said. "I go out and try to reach those goals every day. We had to let teams know how we play over here. No one is going to stop us from rolling. We had to let them know the White Sox are here."

Anderson dealt with speculation surrounding his future and his position on the diamond as the White Sox pursued star infielder Manny Machado in free agency. All along, a defiant Anderson maintained that, "I see myself as the shortstop." That will indeed be his role for 2019, when the White Sox hope to see more progress. 

Anderson's aim is to have a breakout season. To do so, he must improve on his .281 on-base percentage, as he walked just 30 times in 2018. He has walked just 56 times in 1,643 plate appearances in his three MLB seasons.

"I really don't dig too deep into stats," Anderson said. "I just go out and play the game. At the end of the year, we will see what the results are. If they are not there, we will try it again next year."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.