CHICAGO -- Tim Anderson became the first shortstop in White Sox history to post at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season.But here's a little word of advice to fantasy players and opposing pitchers alike: Anderson believes the impressive 2018 results only begin to scratch
CHICAGO -- Tim Anderson became the first shortstop in White Sox history to post at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season.
But here's a little word of advice to fantasy players and opposing pitchers alike: Anderson believes the impressive 2018 results only begin to scratch the surface that is his full baseball potential.
• Anderson sees himself staying at shortstop
"There's a lot more in there," Anderson told MLB.com during an interview on Sunday at SoxFest. "I kind of showed flashes on defense last year, but I feel like my offensive game could come a long way. I had good Minor League numbers, and I was just doing it off of playing.
"Now I'm learning the game a lot more, the techniques. They have been teaching me some of the cheat codes, so I get to take that and put it with my athleticism. The ceiling is pretty high, and I'm excited to keep working and learn the game of baseball more and be more of a baseball player."
The 25-year-old set career highs in 2018 with 20 home runs, 26 stolen bases, 28 doubles, 77 runs and 30 walks. But as Anderson explained, he's just beginning to pick up true nuances of the game.
Assistant general manager Jeremy Haber named Anderson as a player he's high on for the 2019 season when asked during Sunday's final SoxFest seminar. Haber talked about seeing more basketball than baseball video of Anderson because the former was his primary high school sport. Haber also addressed the positive steps that Anderson has taken defensively since the White Sox selected him 17th overall in the 2013 Draft. By the latter half of last season, Anderson was matching every other shortstop with the glove.
That defensive growth came via Anderson studying video and doing early work in Spring Training and pregame during the season with bench coach Joe McEwing. Those who thought Anderson had trouble making the play in the hole moving to his right, for example, were proven wrong over and over again in 2018.
"It's just basically ground balls -- from balls to my right to my left and making those crazy plays. I practice those things," Anderson said when asked for the theme of his early work. "When I make them in a game, it's not shocking to [McEwing] because he's seen it before, or not shocking to me because I did it before. It's some of the things we worked on. It's not a fluke. I practiced those things."
Similar work offensively is being put in by Anderson during this offseason. White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson came to Chicago for a weekend to visit Anderson at Guaranteed Rate Field, one of Anderson's workout spots now that his family resides near Chicago.
Their focus was correcting Anderson's timing, which he felt was a little bit off previously.
"Just start a little earlier," Anderson said. "I've been feeling better, a lot better on things me and Trick have been working on. I'm still doing what we've been working on, so it's kind of I'm getting used to it.
"I'm in a happy place, in a good place. I'm ready for this year. It's going to be a pretty good year."
Those plans for 2019 include Anderson remaining at shortstop, with or without the free-agent addition of Manny Machado.
"It's just part of the business. It's just noise," Anderson said of the potential addition of Machado moving him from shortstop. "He's a great player, but at the same time, nothing is given. I stand for myself, and I'm not going to bow down to anybody. I don't care who it is.
"We would love to have him, but I came up with the Sox. They know the work I put in. They've been watching me grow. I think it would be tough for them to just kind of give up on me like that, and that's why I love it over here so much because they've been nothing but good to me. Everybody understands me."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.