UPDATE: June 10, 2016: The White Sox promoted Tim Anderson to the major league roster this morning. Playing for Triple-A Charlotte in the International League, he was hitting .304/.325/.409 with four homers, 11 steals, eight walks, and 58 strikeouts in 247 at-bats.
Pre-season, I was very impressed with Anderson's tools and athleticism but concerned that his approach at the plate was very raw. That is all still true. His tools are so good that he's thrived in the minors but will this prove true in the majors? My guess is that pitchers will challenge him initially and he'll hold his own, but eventually they will start working him outside the strike zone and then he'll have to adjust.
Here is the pre-season take from back in spring training:
One of the more controversial prospects these days is Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. As you likely know, scouts love his physical tools; he is one of the most athletic prospects around and hit .312/.350/.429 last year for Double-A Birmingham, stealing 49 bases. Ah yes, but with the questionable 24/114 BB/K ratio. Given the historical tendency (tendency, not certainty) of similar players to struggle adapting to higher levels, how big of a deal is that?
Here is my take on him the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 180 DOB: June 23, 1993
The hype train is rolling along with this one. Tim Anderson has one of the best physical toolsets in the minors: speed, arm strength, power potential, pure quickness and athleticism, he has everything. He has a fast bat and has hit pro pitching very well obviously. It is a testament to his natural ability that he’s hit so well despite very poor plate discipline; the BB/K/PA ratio isn’t lying, he swings at everything. So far it has not hurt him, but you can bet major league pitchers will take quick notice and exploit this habit. Some Anderson boosters engage in special pleading, pointing out his lack of experience (he was mostly a basketball player before college) as a reason to dismiss concerns about his strike zone judgment. That’s a mistake if history is any guide. All this may sound negative about Anderson but I really don’t mean it that way. I really like his tools and his skills have improved in many ways, particularly with the glove where he’s made dramatic progress lowering his error rate. I think he can stick at short, and a guy who can hit .280 with doubles power, 20 steals, and solid defense can be a regular for years. Anderson can do that, and perhaps much more, if he can lock down the strike zone at least a little. He is a Grade B+ prospect and he does have a chance to be a star, but the concerns about his hitting approach should not just be dismissed or excused away.
So far this spring, Anderson is 3-for-11 with a double, a triple, and a strikeout. Which, given the small sample size, tells us nothing that we didn't already know!
I'll throw this out for discussion. If you were the White Sox, how would you handle Anderson? Are you worried about that BB/K/PA ratio, or do stathead types like me make too much of it? Do you think he needs a full year of Triple-A, or would you be willing to promote him to the majors rapidly if he gets off to a quick start?