by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The White Sox’ Tim Anderson was considered a highly touted prospect and he lived up to the billing upon debuting in 2016. He showed both power and speed, en route to this impressive stat line:
410 At Bats
.304 Batting Average (75 Hits)
9 Home Runs
10 Stolen Bases
.306 On Base Percentage
.432 Slugging Percentage
.375 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Given the lack of speed around the game and the impressive debut, it makes sense for many to heavily push him up the rankings. While the speed is real (he stole 49 bases in 2015), there are significant questions hanging over him the will potentially limit his production.
In regards to the speed, if he’s not hitting towards the top of the order how many opportunities is he going to get to run? Considering his 3.0% walk rate and 36.4% O-Swing%, his plate discipline is abysmal. An inability to draw a walk, and a likely decline in his AVG, will mean another poor OBP. Rebuilding team or not, it’s impossible for the White Sox to view him as a table setter.
The poor plate discipline helps to contribute to an inflated strikeout rate. He posted a 27.1% strikeout rate last season courtesy of a 14.7% SwStr%. His issues came against all types of pitches as well:
- Hard – 12.51%
- Breaking – 18.46%
- Offspeed – 20.97%
Considering his 22.7% strikeout rate at Triple-A prior to his promotion, the MLB mark is believable and could potentially regress further. Things get worse when you look at his BABIP, even with his speed, as its a mark that’s not going to be replicated (20.8% line drive rate). While he should hit .260ish, the odds of him posting a sub-.250 average are higher than him coming close to .300.
Sure there’s a little bit of power, and the potential of a 10/30 type player is appealing. At the same time the drag on your average and the likelihood that he hits towards the bottom of the order caps his value.
He’s not a major source of RBI…
He may not get as many opportunities to run…
He isn’t likely to be a big source of runs scored…
There’s upside, but he needs to continue developing if he’s going to get there. There’s time, as he wont turn 24 until after the start of the season, but the chances of it all coming together in 2017 is a long-shot. Long-term there’s a lot to like, but in yearly formats don’t make the mistake of overvaluing him.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:
|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|