Early on in every preseason, I say something like, I do my own projections, but I’d be a fool to not at least look at Steamer and ZiPs’ projections. It’s like when there’s answers in the back of your math textbook. Sure, you can figure out the cosine of X if all equations are written on a train going 178 MPH through a tunnel while Gregory Peck gets some action in Roman Holiday, but isn’t it easier to turn to the answers and then try to work backwards? Not to answer, but to nod knowingly. Sometimes looking at those player projections gets me more or less excited about players. Tim Anderson is a guy who got a sizable boost in my mind after seeing his projections. A sizable boost right in my ass, which sounds like what a nurse would say during inoculations if the nurse were trying to get fired. Also, asking kids if they saw the movie Vaxxed might have consequences to their job, as well. Anyway, what can we expect from Tim Anderson for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
So, about those projections, Steamer has Tim Anderson down for 71/12/60/.269/21 in 608 ABs. Let’s look at each number, shall we? (You don’t have much say in this, so I suggest going along with what I want to do.) 71 runs? He should be hitting 2nd for the White Sox. You know the White Sox, they’re the Chicago team rebuilding after seeing the success the other Chicago team had rebuilding. We shall call them Cubbies, Part Deux. Seventy-one runs for a two hole hitter on a bad team is about right. Last year, the White Sox scored their two hole hitter 92 times. The worst in the league was the A’s with 68 runs and the Braves and Marlins, who weren’t great, scored their two-hole hitter 85 times. Figure Anderson misses fifteen games just from day-today injuries and standard rest days and he’s in the 71-75 runs range. Next up, his 12 homers. He doesn’t hit many fly balls (24.9% last year). About the same as Denard Span, which makes me want to weep, or as many fly balls as Villar or Ryan Braun, which makes me feel better. There’s one guy who is a near-match for Anderson in fly balls, Hard Contact and Homers/Fly Balls. His ex-teammate, Adam Eaton. In a good year, Eaton’s a 14 homer guy, and Anderson bumps his head on that ceiling too. Probably closer to 12 homers. Next up, 60 RBIs. Only two teams had two-hole hitters get less than 60 RBIs, so it’s scraping the bottom to give him that few, which is what the White Sox will likely be doing. 60 to 63 RBIs feels about right. Next up, a .269 average. The one big negative is Anderson takes less walks than a fat Sandoval. (Skinny Sandoval now walks everywhere. He started working for Uber this offseason and he doesn’t pick up people in a car, he picks them up in his arms and walks them where they’re going.) Anderson struck out 27.1% of the time, and swings a lot, not always making contact. At least last year, in the minors, he was better. At 23 years old, with the confidence the White Sox have in him, I think his strikeouts can go down. Since he hits most balls on the ground and relies on his speed, I think .275 to .285 is possible. I wouldn’t even count out .300+. There’s some risk there. Finally, his steals. And that’s where he should excel. He stole 49 bases in 2015 in Double-A and 21 bases across Triple-A and the majors last year. With Tilson in the leadoff slot and Anderson at number two, I picture the White Sox just running like crazy, since they have nothing to lose except 100 games. Want a cheap 14/25 guy? Say Segura twenty rounds later? Then it’s all about the Tim Andersons! (Doesn’t work as well since his name isn’t Tim Benjamin.) For 2017, I’ll give him the projections of 75/14/63/.277/25 in 603 ABs.