28 Aug

learning curve

Tim Anderson went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs on Monday night, but ESPN analysts Tim Kurkjian and Eduardo Perez were singing the praises of the shortstop’s defense during the network’s game coverage. The former East Central Community College standout made two highlight-worthy plays in the Chicago White Sox’s 6-2 win over the New York Yankees. On the first, he went deep into the hole and made a jump-and-throw play to nail the batter at first base. On the second, playing in with a runner at third, he short-hopped a hard-hit grounder and cut down the runner at the plate. Defense has been an issue for Anderson, a relative latecomer to baseball, during his three years in the big leagues. He made 28 errors in in 145 games in 2017. But, by all accounts, he is improving. He has just 15 errors in 125 games this year and reportedly is making more plays like the ones he pulled off Monday. “He’s growing and maturing,” Perez said. “He’s a great athlete learning to play baseball,” Kurkjian said. A basketball star in high school in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Anderson didn’t play baseball until his junior year. East Central was his only baseball scholarship offer. In his second year with the Warriors, he batted .495 with 10 homers and 41 steals for a state championship team and was named an NJCAA All-American. Intrigued by his raw skills, the White Sox drafted him 17th overall in 2013. There was speculation then that Anderson might have to move to center field in pro ball, but he has stuck at short. He is also making strides as an offensive threat; he’s at .249 with 17 homers, 58 RBIs and 25 steals in 2018. The White Sox have seen enough that they signed him last year through the 2022 season. P.S. Ex-Mississippi State star Chris Stratton threw a career-high eight innings on Monday as San Francisco shut out Arizona 2-0. Stratton (9-7, 4.99 ERA) allowed five hits, no walks and fanned six in his second straight quality start since returning from a second pit stop in the minors. … In recent MLB moves: Richton High alum JaCoby Jones has been activated from the disabled list by Detroit; Southern Miss product Cody Carroll was sent to the minors by Baltimore; former Ole Miss star Mike Mayers has landed on the DL for St. Louis; and UM alum Bobby Wahl is eligible to come off the DL for the New York Mets but there’s been no word on when that might happen.

27 May

coming out on top

Tim Anderson, the former East Central Community College star, found himself in the leadoff spot for the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. Apparently, he likes it there. Anderson hit two home runs, drove in a career-high four runs and scored three times to fuel an 8-4 win at Detroit’s Comerica Park. The reedy (6 feet 1, 185 pounds) shortstop is batting .246 with 10 homers, 18 RBIs and 11 steals. He leads all Mississippians in the majors in homers and steals. His second bomb, a three-run shot, on Saturday came off Louis Coleman, the pride of Schlater, and put the White Sox up 7-3 in the sixth. “I’m having a hot streak right now,” Anderson, who also homered on Friday, told The Associated Press. Anderson hit fifth on Friday, seventh on Thursday and eighth on Wednesday after not playing on Tuesday. Apparently, the White Sox, having a brutal season, are searching for a lineup that clicks. Maybe they found something. Anderson, a 2013 first-rounder out of ECCC now in his third MLB campaign, has shown flashes of stardom. He hit .257 last year with 17 homers, 56 RBIs and 15 steals after batting .283 as a rookie. P.S. Coleman wasn’t the only Magnolia State product to yield a homer on Saturday. Chris Stratton, the Tupelo native and Mississippi State alum, gave up two bombs but got the win as San Francisco beat the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Stratton, now 6-3 with a 4.97 ERA, allowed three runs in five innings. Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez took him deep. Ex-Ole Miss standout Drew Pomeranz allowed a homer to Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson and lasted just 3 1/3 innings for Boston, which rallied to beat the Braves 8-6 at Fenway Park. There is speculation that Pomeranz may be moved to the bullpen.

13 Sep

hot and cold

It’s becoming clear what kind of hitter Tim Anderson is. In a word: streaky. The East Central Community College product, now the Chicago White Sox’s shortstop, went 2-for-4 on Tuesday to boost his September average to .405. Anderson batted .204 in April but rebounded to hit .319 in May. He hit a summer swoon in June and July, batting .206. He started hot in August, hitting safely in 14 of his first 16 games that month before cooling off. But he has cranked it back up in September. He has three three-hit games this month and is up to .252 for the year with 16 homers, 60 RBIs and nine steals. He hit .283 as a rookie. White Sox fans best get used to this streakiness: Anderson, drafted 17th overall out of ECCC in 2013, is signed for five more years. P.S. Some magic numbers from Tuesday: Southern Miss alum Brian Dozier hit his 30th homer, marking the second time he has reached that figure. He was a double shy of a cycle in Minnesota’s 16-0 drubbing of San Diego. … Ex-Ole Miss star Zack Cozart reached the 20-homer plateau for the first time, taking former Rebels teammate Lance Lynn deep. But Lynn, now 11-7, won the day as St. Louis whipped Cincinnati 13-4. … Former Mississippi Braves standout Ozzie Albies stretched his hitting streak to 10 games as Atlanta zapped Washington 8-0. Albies, the rookie second baseman, went 3-for-5 with his third homer and is hitting .293 with 18 RBIs in 39 games.

24 Aug

hot august night

His team has the worst record in the American League, and he’s not having such a good year, either. So that first career walk-off hit on Wednesday night and the subsequent Gatorade shower had to feel pretty good to Tim Anderson. “I’m going to enjoy it and wear it until tomorrow,” the ex-East Central Community College star told csnchicago.com. Anderson’s ninth-inning single scored Avisail Garcia and the Chicago White Sox beat playoff-contender Minnesota 4-3 at Guaranteed Rate Field. Though his bat has perked up a bit this month, Anderson was in a 1-for-20 slump when he stepped to the plate in the ninth on Wednesday. He is hitting .239 on the year after batting .283 as a rookie in 2016. He has produced 14 homers, 42 RBIs and 49 runs but hasn’t been the base-stealing threat (six bags) he was projected to be as a first-round pick in 2013. At shortstop, Anderson has 25 errors and a .944 fielding percentage, well below league average. But for one night, at least, he soaked in some glory – and some Gatorade. P.S. Cincinnati’s Mississippi-flavored lineup did not produce an appetizing result on Wednesday. The Reds started Taylorsville’s Billy Hamilton in center field, Ole Miss product Zack Cozart at short and UM alum Stuart Turner at catcher. Alas, they went 2-for-10 in a 9-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

14 May

these are the times

These are trying times for Tim Anderson, the former East Central Community College standout and current Chicago White Sox shortstop. Anderson is away from the team this weekend, attending the funeral of a longtime friend who was shot and killed last weekend in Anderson’s hometown of Tuscaloosa, Ala. Anderson has been struggling on the field most of this season. He is hitting .221 with two homers and two steals in 29 games, and his defense also has been spotty. After a strong rookie season (.283, nine homers, 10 bags) in 2016, Anderson signed a 6-year, $25 million contract in the off-season. The White Sox drafted Anderson 17th overall in 2013, the year he led ECCC to a state championship. Obviously, the organization believes in him and believes he’ll bounce back from this adversity. As manager Rick Renteria told theathletic.com, “Experiences occur and you deal with them and then you hopefully grow with them.” Anderson is scheduled to return to the club on Monday in Anaheim, where they’ll play the Angels. We should wish him well. P.S. Adam Frazier, activated from the disabled list on Friday, was back in the Pittsburgh lineup on Saturday, batting leadoff and playing left field. The ex-Mississippi State star, who had been sidelined with a hamstring injury, went 1-for-5 as the Pirates beat Arizona 4-3 to stop a six-game skid. Utility man Frazier is hitting .291 with five RBIs and five runs.

10 Jun

debut alert

Former East Central Community College star Tim Anderson has been called up by the Chicago White Sox and likely will be in the lineup tonight against Kansas City. The highly rated shortstop prospect, 22, was batting .304 with four homers, 20 RBIs and 11 steals at Triple-A Charlotte. Anderson led ECCC to the MACJC championship in 2013 and was drafted in the first round that same year. He was a Southern League All-Star for Birmingham in 2015.

13 May

so close …

With the best record in the American League, the Chicago White Sox don’t appear to need a lot of help at the moment. But when they do, Tim Anderson may be ready. The former East Central Community College standout, now playing at Triple-A Charlotte, had a four-hit game on Thursday that included his first home run of the season. He is batting .333 over his last 10 games to boost his average to .278, and he has 10 RBIs, 20 runs and seven steals over 30 games in his first taste of Triple-A ball. Anderson, 22, a shortstop, started slow this year but is beginning to play like the highly rated prospect that he is. “I’ve been a believer in myself, and I’m just glad the results are showing,” he told milb.com. P.S. Also toiling in Triple-A and looking for that first big league call-up, ex-Mississippi State star Hunter Renfroe is batting .285 with five homers and 20 RBIs at El Paso in the San Diego system. He is close. So, too, is Northwest Mississippi CC product Cody Reed, 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Louisville in Cincinnati’s system. And State alum Adam Frazier, playing mostly outfield this year, is hitting .292 for Pittsburgh’s Indianapolis club. Meanwhile, Tyler Moore and Joey Butler are lodged in Triple-A and trying to get back to the The Show. Moore, a State product, is hitting .242 with a homer and 10 RBIs at Gwinnett in Atlanta’s system, while Gulf Coast CC alum Butler, playing for Cleveland’s Columbus team, is at .238 with two homers and 11 RBIs.

25 Mar

buy low

It might be a good time to invest in some Tim Anderson rookie cards. A web site devoted to such things reveals that the average price of a rookie card of the former East Central Community College standout is $4.96. But one card, a “2013 Leaf Draft Superfractor RC Rookie Auto Autograph 1/1,” sold for $58 in January of 2015. Anderson hasn’t played a big league game yet. He was sent down to Triple-A Charlotte by the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, but it won’t be long before the highly rated prospect assumes the shortstop job at Comiskey Park. Could be this summer. A first-round pick (17th overall) out of ECCC in 2013, Anderson put up some great numbers at Double-A Birmingham in 2015: .312, 12 triples, 49 steals, 79 runs and 46 RBIs in 125 games. Some might remember that he homered at Trustmark Park in Pearl in his first Southern League game back in 2014. He has been in the White Sox’s big league spring camp the last two years and made an impression. “The biggest thing for me seeing him in the last couple years is, defensively, he just looks so much better and confident,” ChiSox manager Robin Ventura told mlb.com. Buy low, they say. Might be a good time to load up on some Tim Anderson rookies.

05 Nov

down on the farm

With Alexei Ramirez becoming a free agent, the heir apparent to the Chicago White Sox’s shortstop job in 2016 looks like Tyler Saladino. But lurking on the depth chart, not too far behind, is Tim Anderson, the former East Central Community College star. Anderson, 22, is rated the White Sox’s No. 1 prospect on mlb.com’s list. His defense may still need some work, but Anderson’s offensive skills are impressive. He batted .312 with five homers, 12 triples, 49 steals, 46 RBIs and 79 runs for Double-A Birmingham this past season, just his third in pro ball. The ChiSox, a disappointing team in 2015, declined to pick up an option for Ramirez, 34, who hit a career-worst .249 with 10 home runs and 62 RBIs. Saladino, 26, batted .225 in 68 games as a rookie last season, playing mostly third base. P.S. The Biloxi Shuckers’ walk-off win in their June 6 home debut was named the MiLBY Game of the Year by milb.com. After playing the first two months of the season on the road, the Shuckers beat Mobile in the 14th inning before a standing room only crowd at MGM Park. Nick Shaw got the game-winning knock.

23 Jul

upwardly mobile

Gloom has gathered over the Chicago White Sox’s season. Fans of the last-place club needing something to brighten their day can look to Double-A Birmingham, where shortstop Tim Anderson is having a star-quality season. Rated by some as the organization’s top prospect entering 2015, the East Central Community College product appears close to being big league-ready. Anderson, 22, the Southern League All-Star Game MVP, is batting .311 with seven triples, 35 RBIs, 53 runs and 35 steals for the Barons. An athletic 6 feet 1, 185 pounds, he is hitting .298 with 69 steals over his three pro seasons. If there is a negative in his offensive numbers, it’s that he doesn’t walk much (15 times this season while serving primarily as a leadoff batter). Reports indicate that Anderson’s defense is steadily improving; in fact, some of the reports are glowing. Anderson made his Double-A debut, with a bang, at Pearl’s Trustmark Park last August. The Barons come to the TeePee again this August (18-22). Of course, by then Anderson might be in Triple-A. P.S. Thirty games into his pro career, LaDarious (aka LeDarious) Clark, the East Mississippi CC alum from Meridian, paces the short-season Class A Northwest League in homers (8, including two on Wednesday), average (.377), hits (49), slugging percentage (.685), runs (32), triples (5) and total bases (89). He also has 20 RBIs and 14 stolen bases for Texas’ Spokane club. Promote him, already. … After roughly a month in the high Class A Florida State League, former Petal High star Anthony Alford is batting .333 with a homer, nine RBIs and 18 runs at Dunedin. Toronto promoted the 21-year-old outfielder, playing his first full pro season, after he hit .293 with 49 runs and 12 steals in 50 games at low-A Lansing.