0 Tim Anderson | DFS Karma

Tim Anderson

I was looking around some of the positional splits when one player jumped out at me. Tim Anderson, shortstop for the Chicago White Sox, routinely fell to the bottom of many peripheral stats among shortstops. He might have the worst approach of any shortstop in the game. The results of his poor approach lead to a terrible 78 wRC+ for Anderson in 2017 and that is on the strength of a .328 BABIP that stands 28 points above league average.

His complete lack of plate discipline is the leading issue in his approach. Among the 37 shortstops with at least 300 plate appearances at the position, none had a worse walk rate than Anderson in 2017.





Tim Anderson



Alcides Escobar



Ronald Torreyes



Adam Rosales



Adeiny Hechavarria




Only Hechavarria had more than 0.6 WAR in that group, and his was on the back of a strong defensive effort. Unfortunately for Anderson, defense was not his friend last year as his glove allowed -8 defensive runs saved.

Further hurting his value, Anderson couples that terrible walk rate with an awful strikeout rate (26.7%) that ranks him as the 6th worst among those same 37 shortstops. One of the problems with he free swinging approach and a major cause of his huge strikeout rate is his lack of discipline. His O-Swing%, the number of pitches a hitter swings at that are outside the strike zone, is the 3rd worst among qualifies shortstops.



Javier Baez


Adeiny Hechavarria


Tim Anderson


Ronald Torreyes


Didi Gregorius



When Anderson does swing, the results are not much better. His 72.2% contact rate is the 5th worst our qualified group. Going from the frying pan into the fire, when Anderson manages to make contact and put the ball in play more often than not it results in the lowest percentage hit in the game.

We’ve known for a long time that pitchers that can keep the ball on the ground typically enjoy more success than pitchers that allow hitters to elevate the ball. This isn’t a new concept and shouldn’t be surprising that line drives and long fly balls are generally bad things for a pitcher, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that we started looking at hitters ground ball rates.

There was a 20 year period from about 1965-1985 where baseball saw a lot of very successful hitters that hit relatively few home runs. Guys like Pete Rose, Robyn Yount, Rod Carew, and Lou Brock were able to have dominating careers without the primary use of the longball. This led a lot of people to start preaching keeping the ball on the ground. The misnomer was that since these guys didn’t with a ton of power, they must have slapped singles all over the ground.

Without the aid of more advanced stats and video, people couldn’t see that these guys hit a huge number of line drives, the highest percentage hit in baseball. The league had a collective 29 wRC+ on ground balls in 2017, compare that to the 145 wRC+ in fly balls or 335 wRC+ on line drive and you can see why the ground ball is so beneficial to the pitcher and detrimental to the hitter. With a career 53.4% ground ball rate, Anderson is severely limiting his opportunities. His 52.7% ground ball rate in 2017 was the second worst among qualified shortstops.

Anderson has an absolutely terrible approach at the plate, he doesn't take walks and exacerbates his issues by striking out way too much; he swings at bad pitches and makes poor contact. It is extremely rare for hitters with these tendencies to turn things around and have even a marginally successful career.

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