GLENDALE, Ariz. — It's probably a good time to stop suggesting things that Tim Anderson can't do.
After all, he's still the reigning major league batting champion, something plenty thought impossible after he finished the 2018 season a .240 hitter.
But his major league leading .335 average from 2019 hasn't done much to silence doubters who assume that number will return to Earth. There are still plenty who moan every time Anderson is charged with another error in the field. There are still plenty — as his recent conversation on MLB Network showed, then again on Twitter, that one with a cameo appearance from Wade Boggs — who are quick to point out that he seldom walks.
Anderson has shown time and time again that he's not going to listen to any of that and will keep working at becoming what he wants to be: the best.
"I’m going to be the best," he said Saturday at Camelback Ranch. "I’m not coming to give you nothing less from last year, I’m going to continue to work and get better. Trying to take from last year and put it with the things I learned this year. Who knows what that can turn into."
Anderson has dealt with doubters before, as recently as last season, when his hot streak was interrupted by a high ankle sprain. Missing almost the entire month of July, he showed his first 70 games were no fluke. He did them one better, improving the .317 average he had when he got hurt to .335 by season's end, batting .357 in his final 53 games.
"It was more for people around me to see what type of person I am. 'Can he continue to do what he was doing before he got hurt?'" Anderson said. "That closed those people’s mouths with coming out how I returned from that injury to go on and miss the All-Star (Game) but win the batting title.
"You can’t vote on that, you have to earn that and that was enough for me."
So what's next on Anderson's to-do list?
Is he going to walk more? While Anderson is about "changing the game" — his words from last year that the White Sox have adopted as their marketing slogan for 2020 — he's not about changing his game, especially when it worked so well in 2019. He walked just 15 times in 518 trips to the plate, but he reached base at a .357 clip. Some might argue it's unsustainable, and time will tell whether it is or isn't. What seems relatively inarguable is that the aggressive approach that prevented him from walking much in 2019 was significantly responsible for him winning the batting title.
So, yeah, he's going to keep that same approach.
"Why not?" he said. "It got me the batting title. So, why not? I’m not going to change anything."
Anderson's defense will continue to be under a microscope after he led the major leagues with 26 errors in 2019. In his four-year career, he's racked up 88 errors and while those don't tell the entire story about his defensive ability, 88 is still a big number.
While plenty of fans grumble about Anderson's defense, none of those grumblers are in the White Sox organization.
"Tim Anderson is going to be a Gold Glove contender at some point during his career at shortstop," general manager Rick Hahn said last month. "I firmly believe that, given his ability to get to balls and make plays that other people are unable to make. Getting more consistent on some of the routine things is still a work in progress. But I think you're going to see better things out of him."
A Gold Glove, eh? Yeah, Anderson's got it on his to-do list.
"Yeah, definitely. It’s definitely in my goals," he said Saturday. "I’m not saying I’m going to get it this year, not saying next year. We don’t know when it will be, but I know I will get one."
You can also put Anderson into the group with his manager and teammates who are setting huge expectations for the upcoming season. Thanks to all those breakout campaigns from core players and the acquisitions Hahn's front office made this winter, those expectations don't seem at all unrealistic. The White Sox haven't played October baseball for more than a decade, but confidence is sky high in Glendale.
Anderson is one of the guys leading that charge.
"We have a chance to do something crazy," he said. "That’s what everybody is talking about, right? So why not own up to it and set the bar high: go to the playoffs and win the championship. That’s the goal, right?
"We didn’t come here to work for nothing. We come here to win championships and make it to the playoffs. That’s no secret. Everybody knows we are here to win championships.
"Everybody knows what we are here to do. We are here to win a championship, and we are here to take it all."
Offense worthy of a batting title. Defense worthy of a Gold Glove. A team worthy of a World Series.
Being the best.
Anderson wouldn't want anything less on his to-do list.