Shut up, haters: Tim Anderson wins batting title


It’s always a little sad when baseball is done for the season. (Well, not last year; it was a relief when that mess was over.) But this year’s White Sox team was just better enough (with some putrid exceptions — hello, month of July) that there is a hint of bittersweet in the autumn air.

This year, there was some actual good baseball played and several accomplishments to celebrate. Give it up for José Abreu and his AL-leading 123 RBIs, Yoán Moncada for finishing third in the AL batting race (and being the clear, all-around best player on the Sox), and Lucas Giolito for a miraculous turnaround that will garner him a few Cy Young votes.

And, most pleasantly surprising of all, Tim Anderson won the American League batting title, joining only Luke Appling (1936 and 1943) and Frank Thomas (1997) as South Siders to accomplish the feat. Anderson and Appling in 1936 are the only White Sox to lead all of baseball in batting average.

Oh, hey, Bitmoji. Good to see that you’ve recovered from your um, unfortunate Lucas Giolito incident. But why are you looking so … pissed off? You love Timmy.

Is it because all the advanced stats folks say batting average is meaningless?

Or that Tim’s OBP is disappointingly low because he doesn’t take many walks?

Or that he just makes too many gosh-darned errors and should be moved to the outfield?

I hear ya. Look, Tim is who he is — he will never take many walks. A few more would be nice, sure, so he could steal a few more bases, but that just ain’t his style. And some of the simple errors can be confounding, particularly with his ability for truly spectacular plays. But when Timmy is on, he is fun as hell to watch. And by all accounts, he loves Chicago and genuinely wants to help his community. He’s an easy guy to root for.

Some people only want to see Tim for his shortcomings. But you know what? At the end of the day, he’s a batting champion and they’re not.

That’s right, Bitmoji, let them stew. We’re going to celebrate Tim being Tim. And if other players, like Eloy Jiménez and Zack Collins, take similar steps forward, and Luis Robert is all that and a bag of chips …

That’s the hope, isn’t it? With TA and his bat flips leading the way.

32 thoughts on “Shut up, haters: Tim Anderson wins batting title

  1. Really? I’m the first to LIKE and comment here? Oh well. Then let me say, thank you, Laura. While I understand that TA has his shortcomings, I don’t get the under-the-microscope dismantling that seems to go on with him. Maybe it’s an over-familiarity thing or some such, but he is one of the things I love about the Sox and a reason I fell a lot of optimism moving forward. I think he’s just hitting his stride. To quote the shirt: Baseball Needs More Tim Anderson.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Time will tell about Tim as a hitter over a longer period of time. Was this past year a fluke? (aka Dan Palka 2018…) We’ll see.

    But I do know this, fundamentals win games and he costs the Sox games this season because of his errors many of which can’t be explained. He reminds me of Alexei Ramirez in the field, a guy who can make the spectacular play but then allows his concentration to drift and he makes an error on a play that a good high school kid can take care of.

    Tim isn’t a rookie anymore, he’s a veteran player and that stuff simply has got to stop. The game just isn’t about hitting.

    The Sox need to start holding him (and the other players) accountable for fundamental mistakes in the field and on the bases if they want to take the next step.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there are a lot of improvements needed for Tim’s defense. We know it; he knows it. However, try to give yourself a day, or even a few hours, of simply being incredibly happy for TA’s lead-leaguing batting average. When it comes to the fluke you mentioned, maybe it will be. Only time will tell. For now, I’m going to be over-the-moon excited that Tim accomplished such a difficult feat! As the offseason really gets rolling, I’ll shift my focus to his improvements in the field.

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    2. I, for one, would be thrilled to have Alexei Part 2 at short stop for the near future.

      I love good defense, so it does pain me a little when Tim does something not-good. But he said that his focus this offseason will be defense after focusing on hitting last offseason. So I’m going to take him at his word.

      And while I don’t think he’s a career .335 hitter, he ain’t falling off a Palka cliff, either. For now, I celebrate only the 3rd White Sox ever to accomplish this particular feat.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For what it is worth I’m not sure if you want Tim to become another Alexei…or as one of the Sox broadcasters told me, “Alexei is the dumbest shortstop in the league…” (direct quote)

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      2. It will be interesting to see how he evolves. He didn’t hit .335 by going after pitcher’s pitches. He may not walk a lot but he is making pitchers throw strikes to him. He’s making them pitch in the zone. Maybe he’d walk more if his hands weren’t so unbelievably quick. As he gets older, he might become more selective. For now, he can punish pitches he forces pitchers to give him. Huzzah!

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    3. Dan Palka? Come on. He’s not even rosterable. At his worst TA is an average MLB shortstop. That comparison is ridiculous.

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      1. I am not in any way comparing Anderson to Palka. Tim is a far better player. I am saying Palka’s 2018 season appears to have been a complete fluke. The jury is out if Tim’s 2019 season and .335 batting average is also a fluke.

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      2. I love how people are ready to write off Anderson’s offensive season as a fluke, but the same people think it’s completely impossible for him to recover from a bad defensive season.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’d be very happy if Tim could consistently hit .280-.290 and cut his errors by half. The thing is though he’s now completed his fourth season in the big’s and is still averaging 22 errors per season. In two of his last three years he’s had over 25 of them. I don’t know if he CAN significantly reduce his errors. It’s wonderful that he’s said he’s going to spend more time working on his defense. I hope he does, that would be a very good thing.

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      4. But again, you seem to not think that he CAN improve his defense, while at the same time resigning yourself to the fact that all of the improvements he made offensively this year are going to evaporate. It sounds unfairly critical/dour to me.

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      5. I make no excuse for the fact that I’ve been a White Sox fan since 1960 when I turned five. Based on their history I tend to look at things in a critical dour manner. They haven’t had the greatest success have they?

        And I never said the offensive improvements were going to evaporate. I said time will tell if this season was a fluke or not. Big difference.

        Again if he hit .280-.290 and cut his errors that would be perfectly fine with me and he’d still remain one of the better shortstops in the league.

        Do I think he’ll hit .335 again? Frankly…no.

        But there’s nothing to be ashamed of hitting .280-.290 either.

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      6. We seem to be on the same page regarding his offense. Anderson will probably not repeat his slash line of .335/.357/.508, but he could regress and still be an above average contributor on offense.

        As for the defense, there is no doubt in my mind that he can be better, as we have seen him do better. As recently as 2018, both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs gave him average-slightly above average marks in terms of his defense. Anderson also had a good year defensively right as he broke into the majors. I am optimistic about him going forward. Also, while Anderson’s 2019 error rate does a pretty good job of reflecting his defensive output, on a general note, errors are often misleading. Ozzie Smith’s lifetime fielding % of .978 is 24th all-time among shortstops. But, most of the 23 in front of him were significantly less valuable than Smith because of range differences (to have a chance of making an error, you usually have to get to the ball).

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I think it’s quite possible he could hit well enough for a batting title next year or possibly even in another hitting category he could lead…He ‘s a great hitter though I don’t think walks are in his make-up as a hitter…However if we actually are contending, I think he’d take walks more seriously…I’m probably more happy about his cutting down on K’s more than almost anything else offensively over time he’s improved upon…That’s difficult with the type of hitter he is…However I do agree with you both, with the spoil sport topic that paying attention on defense is the most important thing moving forward.

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    4. Seems every once in a while I have to bring this piece (https://www.southsidesox.com/2018/6/13/17461828/you-cool-with-ta-alexei-a-study-of-alexei-ramirez-and-tim-anderson, wait I seriously can’t link in comments, man the work never stops here) from midseason last year out, from SSS, indicating how TA is comparing favorably to Alexei at this point.

      We all want TA to be an MVP, and we all want him to be a better fielder. But the fact that this front office took a gamble on a guy, wrapped him up early, and that wrap-up is paying off HUGE, is something to celebrate.

      If we had nine TAs in the field, OK, the pitching staff would be very easily agitated, but we’d be a helluva team.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice article, thank you. I’m happy he won the batting title, it is quite the accomplishment. But yes, I would like more walks and more solid defense. I don’t think that’s asking much. Let’s also see how he does in 2020, because there was another Sox player a couple of years ago who had a career year in BA and finished 2nd in the league, but it turned out to be his only good year with the Sox.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you Steely. We are happy that he won the batting title. It is a great accomplishment. He is doing the hardest part. Adding 40 or so walks and cutting 10 errors will make him a real all star.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Avi’s in the ex sox featured WC now, he was my favorite player on the sox for his effort in the field, now his RF speed is starting pay off for a winner…we could be having a playoff team now of recently discarded players and just ones we have acquired or developed through other avenues besides those wonderful “deals” made or not made.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for pointing out your article here on SSS, it was a joy to read and quite a unique celebration of the title! ( Orta may have had a title like this if it wasn’t for Santo by the way, for some historical continuity with your favorite sox players, or if we hadn’t been cow-towing at the time to the Cub fan base to replace Melton)

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