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Tim Anderson thrives while other White Sox rookies fall

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Shortstop collects three hits and first walk while Matt Davidson becomes the latest prospect to not survive his debut

David Banks/Getty Images

Kevan Smith was set to make his MLB debut when his back locked up on him.

Jason Coats had to leave his first game early after colliding with J.B. Shuck.

Unlike Coats, Matt Davidson made a good kind of impact in his White Sox debut, hitting an RBI single and eventually scoring on a walk. Like Coats, though, Davidson still required a mid-game injury replacement because he broke his foot while running the bases. He’ll require a DL stint, and while a corresponding move will be made later today, I don’t see how it’ll be nearly as intriguing.

This underscores two things:

No. 1: It is impossible to phase out Avisail Garcia. He is an inevitability. Resistance is useless, and fighting it will only make it hurt more. How many more of your precious prospects will you choose to sacrifice in vain before you accept this? Just bat him at the bottom of the order and be grateful for the singles he provides.

No. 2: This just makes the start of Tim Anderson’s career all the more remarkable.

Maybe it’s because Anderson’s sphere of influence does not infringe upon Garcia’s — this would also explain Austin Jackson’s injury — but Anderson keeps chugging along. He compiled his most well-rounded game of the year in the finale against the Twins.

At the plate, he collected his fourth consecutive multi-hit game with three singles, giving him 10 such games on the year. More significantly, he also drew his first walk. It was of the five-pitch variety from Tommy Milone during his 86th plate appearances. That seems like a long time, but we’ve seen worse. Anderson failed to draw a walk over his first month in Charlotte, and, going back further, his drought fits in comfortably with first-time White Sox over the last decade:

  1. Jeff Keppinger, 140 PA
  2. Tim Anderson, 86 PA
  3. Dayan Viciedo, 82 PA
  4. Josh Phegley, 82 PA

He surpassed Viciedo’s mark in terms of plate appearances, but Viciedo still holds the honor for most adorable celebration. Anderson’s was endearing in a subtler way:

Todd Frazier also sought to commemorate the occasion:

"(Todd) Frazier was like 'We got the bat, we got the pitcher, we got the umpire, we got everything,'" Anderson said of the reaction in the dugout.

If you like your accomplishments devoid of self-deprecation, take a look at this play, which also comes in convenient link form to share whenever somebody asks about whether he can stick at shortstop.

Anderson is doing a nice job of silencing doubters in a way that can be considered characteristic with the scouting reports. His defense is indeed much improved. He had a 19-game errorless streak in Charlotte shortly before his promotion, and he’s strung together 18 of them so far in Chicago. He doesn’t draw walks, but you can see why he likes to swing the bat. (Look at the location of the pitch he singled on in the first inning.)

This tendency leads him into the occasional amateurish at-bat, but the key is and will always be avoiding a carryover. He’s hitting .314/.322/.512 somehow, so he’s eating good in the neighborhood thus far. He’ll likely have a steady diet of junk to avoid in the near future, and that might lead to long weeks. That’s when it’ll be helpful to remember context, and that he’ll automatically be better off than some of his teammates as long as he avoids hospital food.