White Sox

Tim Anderson wants to be the White Sox shortstop of the future

4chuckta.jpg
USA TODAY

Tim Anderson wants to be the White Sox shortstop of the future

If you follow Sabermetrics, look up the leaders among American League shortstops in WAR(Wins Above Replacement). There in the Top Ten you will find the following names:

5. Didi Gregorius      2.5
6. Manny Machado   2.5
7. Tim Anderson       2.1
8. Xander Bogaerts  2.0

Surprised to see the guy ranked No. 7?

At the end of last year, it looked like this:

11. Jose Iglesias      1.4
12. Tim Beckham     1.3
13. Marcus Semien  1.1
14. Chad Pinder       1.0
15. Tim Anderson     0.9

At a time when the White Sox are feeling the pain of their rebuild, watching how Tim Anderson has developed this year should provide you some relief about the future.

Is he finished product?  No
Does he make a lot of errors and strikeout too much? Yes and yes.

But speaking with him before Friday’s game against the Royals, Anderson sounded like a player who is walking around with a baseball compass.   He knows exactly where he’s at and what he needs to do to arrive at his hopeful destination: greatness.

“What I’m doing this year is a small sample of what’s going to come,” Anderson said.  “I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ve got to continue to work and get better on offense and defense.  I feel like that’s working for me. I take my work seriously and I know I’ve got to get better, and I feel like I am getting better.”

What does Anderson want to improve on?

“Everything.  Everything. I want to be great, so I’ve got to improve on everything, offense and defense.”

I bring up his 23 walks which are already 10 more than his previous career-high.

Anderson claps his hands.

“I’m proud about that. I didn’t really walk much (last year).  I got in the box and was just ready to go. But now I’m being patient and I’m learning.”

What about his 13 errors which are the second most among shortstops in the American League?  Anderson didn’t hide. 

“We got to get those down,” Anderson said.  “I’m in a good position where I am now compared to where I was last year, but I’ve got a lot of work to do. Obviously the errors are showing that it tells me I got to keep working.  I’m going to clean it up.”

At a time when stolen bases are becoming extinct, Anderson’s 21 thefts are second most in the American League.  He’s projected to finish with 37. Could he hit 40?

“You don’t want to put a number out there and not reach it. For the most part I’m going out there and seeing how many I can get,”  Anderson said. “I feel like “I’ve been doing a great job taking the information they’re giving me and using it in the game. That’s kind of why I’m safe most of the time.”

When the White Sox are ready to win,  will Anderson be their shortstop? The chances of them signing Manny Machado in the off-season are extremely slim. And, you probably don’t want Machado playing shortstop anyway. Check out his defensive metrics. It’s ugly.  Really ugly.

DWAR
95. Xander Bogaerts     -0.7
96. Jody Mercer            -0.9
97.  Alcides Escobar     -1.0
Last. Manny Machado  -1.4

Anderson wants to be the White Sox shortstop of the future and is looking more and more like it. He’s also such a team player, he’d probably play the outfield if the White Sox ever asked him.  He even has a pretty good sense or humor about it.

The White Sox rebuild might have started last season, but the team has been losing ever since he got called up in 2016.  I asked him if the losses are weighing on him. 

“We’re going through a tough stretch right now.  We’re in a rebuild. That’s what everyone’s saying, but you got to look at the future. We’ve got a chance to do something special.  That’s what keeps me going. I’m excited about that. You can only control what you can control,” Anderson said. “Right now we’re in a stretch where we haven’t been winning.  But overall, the clubhouse has been great through the tough times that we’ve been going through and we’ve got some great pieces in the minor leagues that’s going to be up here soon and turn those L’s into W’s.”

Anderson sees the big picture and if the White Sox win a World Series, he wants to be in that championship photo.

“I’m here until the end.  The plan is to bring a championship here and that’s what I’m here for.”

Reynaldo Lopez continues hot start to second half, helps snap White Sox losing streak

lopez.jpg
USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez continues hot start to second half, helps snap White Sox losing streak

After a rough outing against the Detroit Tigers on July 4 — his last before the All-Star break — White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez vowed to be a different pitcher going forward.

“At this point, after a really bad first half, there's not much I can say about that. Starting today, you're going to see a different pitcher going forward for the second half of the season,” Lopez said after his July 4 start through team interpreter Billy Russo. “What is done is done. There's nothing else that I can do to change what is done.

“I can do different things to get better and to be a better pitcher for the year and that's what I'm going to do.”

Two outings later, and Lopez is nearing the point where he can say “I told you so.”

Lopez has come out of the break firing on all cylinders after struggling to a 4-8 record and MLB-worst 6.34 ERA before the Midsummer Classic. Friday, he tossed seven innings of two-run ball, allowing just six hits and one walk compared to eight strikeouts. This follows his brilliant outing against the Athletics on Sunday in which he pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and one run — albeit unearned — with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Lopez exited Sunday’s game in line for a win before the White Sox bullpen slipped up. The offense allowed no such opportunity on Friday, tallying 16 hits en route to a 9-2 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s Lopez’s first win since June 9 against the Kansas City Royals.

Lopez has received a fair share of criticism this season for his struggles, but his recent success should not come as much of a surprise considering how he fared in 2018. The 25-year-old posted a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts, striking out 151 batters in 188 2/3 innings.

Lopez’s strikeout rate in 2019 is up compared to 2018 (8.19 K/9 in 2019 vs. 7.20 in 2018) and his walk rate is down (3.32 BB/9 in 2019 vs. 3.58 in 2018). The major difference is that opponents are hitting .284 against him this season compared to .234 in 2018, while also holding a .319 BABIP, up from .260 last season.

It may just be two starts, but Lopez is backing up his vow to pitch better. Between Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and the returns of Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodón from Tommy John surgery in 2020, the White Sox future starting rotation is in good hands. Getting Lopez back to pitching how he did in 2018 will only take that group to the next level.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Interview with Hall of Famer Harold Baines

baines_podcast.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

White Sox Talk Podcast: Interview with Hall of Famer Harold Baines

Chuck Garfien sits down with new Hall of Famer Harold Baines.

First, Chuck, Ryan McGuffey and Chris Kamka share their memories of watching Baines play with the White Sox (1:40). Then, Baines explains why he's always been so soft-spoken (8:45), how he was able to play 22 seasons in the majors (13:00), why he's never spoken to GM Larry Himes for trading him to Texas (15:30), the apology he received from President George W. Bush (16:30), what he thinks about the critics who don't think he should be in the Hall of Fame (18:25), a replay of Baines emotional interview with Chuck about his dad (20:50) and more.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below: