Powell: White Sox’ Tim Anderson Is ‘Happier’ After Hitting the ‘Reset Button’ This Offseason

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. (WGN Radio)

By Kevin Powell

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Bouncing around the White Sox spring training complex, observing the teams young core of rising stars, it’s tough not to notice the difference in Tim Anderson’s attitude. On Saturday, the shortstop was laughing and joking around with Yoan Moncda, Avi Garcia, Jose Abreu and Yolmer Sanchez as they took batting practice.

“It’s the most comfortable I’ve been,” Anderson said.  “I’m talking more. I’m smiling more. I’m happier now. I’m in a great position. I’m just honored and humbled and excited to be in the position I’m in.”

I can confirm he is talking more. He is definitely smiling more. And I do get the sense that he’s genuinely happier.

It’s a stark contrast from last season, when Anderson was distant and soft-spoken with the media. Much of that stemming from a tragic moment in early May when his best friend, 23-year-old Branden Moss, was shot and killed in a Tuscaloosa, Ala., parking lot.

“This offseason was great for me,” Anderson said. “I did a lot of things that didn’t wrap around baseball, I kind of got away from it. Kind of focused on what’s important, and that’s my family. I spent a lot of time with family and really enjoyed the offseason.”

Whatever Anderson did during the offseason, it seems to have worked. The 2013 first-round pick is at peace now. And he’s ready for a larger role this season.

“I don’t know what it is, but I feel like I do attract a lot of people,” Anderson said. “I just like to rub people the right way, and treat people how you’re supposed to be treated. But I plan to be more vocal and step in to that leader role.”

He may only be 24-years-old, but Anderson does feel like one of the veterans in a clubhouse full of young prospects.

“We love each other, man. We love each other. There’s some great chemistry in this locker room. And I feel like it’s gonna get a lot better. It’s just getting stronger and stronger as we keep meeting a lot of new faces. But we’re all on the same page.”

Anderson says he doesn’t have any specific individual goals other than to have fun. But he’ll have more fun if he improves his plate discipline after striking out in 27% of his appearances.  Ideally he can ride the momentum from the final month of the season, when he posted a .339/.357/.486 slash line.

We’re only a few days into spring training, but early signs point to a positive season for Anderson. And he agrees.

“This years’ going to be a lot of different.”

 

Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720