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Anderson's walk-off a sign of things to come

White Sox young shortstop reins in aggressive approach
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- In the dugout before Wednesday's game against the Twins, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson sat talking with hitting coach Todd Steverson about who he is at the plate, looking to find the answers to a 2017 season filled with struggles.

The results, according to Anderson: "I'm very aggressive, and that's something I'm learning, to control my zone. I'm definitely an aggressive hitter."

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CHICAGO -- In the dugout before Wednesday's game against the Twins, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson sat talking with hitting coach Todd Steverson about who he is at the plate, looking to find the answers to a 2017 season filled with struggles.

The results, according to Anderson: "I'm very aggressive, and that's something I'm learning, to control my zone. I'm definitely an aggressive hitter."

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Anderson remained aggressive, but also showed maturity on Wednesday in the ninth, jumping on a 1-0 changeup from Twins reliever Trevor Hildenberger and chopping a ball past Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco for his first career walk-off hit in a 4-3 White Sox victory.

Anderson, who is hitting .239 with 14 homers and a .642 OPS in his sophomore season, has worked to rein in some of his aggressiveness. In his first at-bat, he chased a slider in the dirt for a strikeout. In the seventh, with a pair of runners on in a one-run game, he popped out. But as he stepped up with two runners on and one out in the ninth, he was ready.

"I wanted that moment," he said. "I put the first three at-bats behind me and came up big. It was an exciting moment. I'm going to enjoy it and wear it until tomorrow."

Video: MIN@CWS: Anderson comes up big with a walk-off single

Anderson has grown a lot on and off the field in his second year in the Majors. He became a father and also overcame tragedy. This Player's Weekend, he will wear "B. Moss" on the back of his jersey in honor of Branden Moss, a childhood friend who was tragically killed in early May.

He's also learned at the plate, picking and choosing spots to be aggressive.

"It's up to you to really to create your own scouting report for yourself," Steverson said pregame. "If you don't chase, they got to come in the zone and you have a better chance to hit. But the more things that you do that are obviously not conducive to being a good hitter or chasing out of the zone. They'll do it more and more and more until you stop."

Yoan Moncada, MLB Pipeline.com's top prospect and the other half of the White Sox young double-play duo, has run into similar problems as Anderson during his time in the big leagues. While Moncada has managed to get on base with a high walk rate, he's struggled hitting offspeed stuff in the zone. A switch-hitter, he's also struggled when being flipped around to bat right-handed.

Moncada's confidence remains high amid struggles

"It's one of the hardest things to do, is switch over in the middle of the game, and take an at-bat on the other side," Steverson said of Moncada pregame. "But you've got to learn that process."

Video: MIN@CWS: Moncada rips a clutch laser to tie the game

With Leury Garcia on second in a one-run game in the eight and a lefty on the mound, Moncada stepped in for his first right-handed at-bat of the game. Moncada entered batting 4-for-35 right-handed -- especially struggling against breaking balls -- but turned on a hanging curveball for a game-tying double.

"We were talking about how they were trying to be able to do something with the secondary pitches," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Obviously, they both did. Obviously, it's a confidence builder, both of them getting big hits, one to tie and one to go ahead."

The White Sox rebuild will lend itself to growing pains, just as it will open up opportunities for the young talent to excel as it did Wednesday. Moncada remained confident in the duo's future.

"We're just working to improve," Moncada said through interpreter Billy Russo. "I have confidence that in the future we're going to be a force, but right now we're just working hard to improve."

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago White Sox, Tim Anderson