White Sox select shortstop T. Anderson at No. 17
Athletic middle infielder helps fill void in Minor League system
CHICAGO -- Tim Anderson's name was read by Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on Thursday night around 7:45 p.m. CT, and to be honest, the 19-year-old's immediate reaction turned to shock.
It wasn't so much shock that the White Sox made the multi-talented shortstop their first selection at No. 17 overall. It was more shock that a player who had as many offers to play basketball as he did to play baseball coming out of high school two years ago, which would be one, now was a first-round selection.
"I never thought I would be here some day," Anderson said on a conference call.
"We had him lined up with pretty much college pitching and guys in the middle of the field we felt were impact type," said White Sox director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann of Anderson, who was their top-rated middle infielder and has Larry Reynolds as his family advisor. "It turned out where we got the one we felt was the biggest impact."
Anderson was named a First-Team NJCAA Division II All-American in 2013 as a sophomore for East Central Community College in Mississippi, the one school that made him a baseball offer. The right-handed-hitting shortstop stands as a finalist for the NJCAA Division II Player of the Year after hitting .495 with 62 runs scored and 41 stolen bases. He added 10 homers, 11 triples, 18 doubles, 45 RBIs, a .563 on-base percentage and an .864 slugging percentage.
As a freshman in 2012, Anderson was not thrown out in 30 steal attempts.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn warmly welcomed Anderson during a post-selection phone call, telling him that a number of White Sox people watched him play and "each one came back more excited than the next."
In selecting Anderson, the White Sox took the best player available, as Laumann had talked about prior to the Draft. They also filled a major middle-infield need and added another athlete to the mix.
"There were probably more tense moments this year than we had in the past," Laumann said. "The guys went that we thought were going to go. It was a little bit different order than what we expected in a few cases, but I'm not going to shy away from saying he was our target. He was the guy we felt was the best guy. We are certainly happy to get him and get him started."
"I'm not a complete player yet, but one day I will be in the White Sox organization," said the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Anderson. "I'm not a power guy, but a gap-to-gap guy with potential to have a lot of power as I get stronger. I don't swing and miss a whole lot."
With those self-described set of qualities, Anderson loosely has been projected as a top-of-the-order guy and will be given every chance to prove himself as a shortstop. Anderson knows there are people who doubt he can play that position at a higher level, but he's ready to take on the doubters.
Laumann mentioned that Anderson has the bat to move positions, possibly to the outfield, and that some White Sox people who watched him thought he could even fit as a No. 3 hitter. Some of the pre-Draft comparisons mention Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, but when asked on Thursday night, Anderson went with the Blue Jays' Jose Reyes.
"We have the same tool package," said Anderson of Reyes. "I'm tough to beat if I'm giving it my all every play. This year, I had a great year. It was very exciting. Showing up at the games and there were a bunch of scouts there. I'm just happy to be a White Sox."
"One thing he can do is he can change a game," said Laumann of Anderson, who was scouted by executive vice president Ken Williams, assistant general manager Buddy Bell and all the White Sox supervisors. "His ability to get on base with his on-base percentage as well as his ability to take extra bases, that's one of the things that we thought was really exciting about him."
Day 2 of the Draft continues with Rounds 3-10, streamed live on MLB.com on Friday, beginning with a preview show at 11:30 p.m. CT And Rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at noon.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Joining Anderson among White Sox Day 1 picks was Tyler Danish, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-handed pitcher out of Durant High School in Plant City, Florida, who was taken at No. 55 in the second round. Danish finished his senior year at 15-1 with no earned runs allowed in 94 innings pitched.
When outfielder Courtney Hawkins was taken by the White Sox at No. 13 in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, he did a back flip in full suit and dress shoes during his MLB Network interview. Anderson passed on the same reaction Thursday, partially because he was in a state of happy shock over the pick and partially because he couldn't execute the move.
At some point in the not too distant future, the White Sox hope to flip over the duo's performance in Chicago.
In the Pipeline
Alexei Ramirez currently is stationed at shortstop for the White Sox, in the second season of a four-year, $32.5-million deal, while Gordon Beckham capably holds down second base. Carlos Sanchez is one of the club's few middle-infield prospects at Triple-A Charlotte, but as Laumann pointed out, the one-time standout basketball player, who had an offer to play hoops at Itawamba Community College, could fit outside the current middle-infield projection.