CHICAGO — It was a mid-April dustup with the Royals that spurred Tim Anderson

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CHICAGO It was a mid-April dustup with the Royals that spurred Tim Anderson to introduce a personal motto: Stick talk would come over the course of the season to speak not just for how he carried himself, but also for how he would perform.On the way to winning the American League batting title with a .335 mark, Anderson did plenty of stick talk. After batting .250 through the first two games of the season, Andersons average never dropped lower than .307 the rest of the way. Even an ankle sprain in late June that sidelined him for almost a month didnt slow his pace. Anderson just kept hitting.MLB PLAYOFFS: But so much about the way Anderson went about becoming the first White Sox player to be the batting champ since Frank Thomas did it in 1997 was unusual.The thing thats crazy about him is hes not walking. He swings the bat, White Sox catcher James McCann told Sporting News. I dont know the past batting title leaders, what their walk numbers looked like, but hes up there swinging the bat.Among qualified hitters, Andersons 2.9 percent walk rate was just a tenth of a point higher than the lowest in baseball Los Angeles Chargers Hats . Los Angeles Chargers T Shirts He drew his 14th and 15th walks in the second to last game of the season, marking his first multi-walk game since June 10, 2018. Very few hitters can walk as rarely as Anderson did and still maintain a high batting average.What worked for Anderson was making better contact and sending the ball the other way more often.If the ball is around the plate, hes putting the barrel on it. Hes not getting cheap hits, hes hitting, McCann said. Its incredible the way that hes able to put the barrel on the ball.Normally, a hitter who starts making better contact is one who might have become more selective, spending le s time chasing out of the zone and maybe even swinging le s. Not Anderson.His overall swing rate in 2019 was the highest its been in his career, at 58.5 percent, and he didnt limit his extra swings to just the ones in the zone. Anderson technically chased more often this season than he has in the past, up to 45.3 percent from 40.3 percent in 2018, but somehow he made more and better contact with those extra swings.Just being upright, and having coverage to all sides of the plate, Anderson said when asked whats made the difference. Being aggre sive in the zone and being able to hit every pitch thats in the zone.Anderson said he tried to stay more upright Hunter Kampmoyer Jersey in the batters box because of a suggestion last year from White Sox a sistant hitting coach Greg Sparks. He dabbled with it toward the end of last season, Anderson said, and then worked on it further during the winter.The results werent immediate; Anderson hit .200 last September, but the change this season was undeniable. His overall contact rate jumped over 3 percent, and the biggest change was where he was hitting the ball. Anderson had been a heavy pull hitter the first three seasons of his career, but in 2019 he drove the ball up the middle and to the opposite field much more often. He pulled the ball a career-high 44.4 percent of the time in 2018 and dropped that number all the way to 32.6 percent this year.Just to see where I was a couple of years ago to where I am now I put the work in, and its showing, Anderson said.The change in his approach was good for a 95-point jump in his batting average from 2018 to 2019. Last year, Anderson hit just .240.McCann said he and Andersons teammates took to joking in the dugout that an opposing pitcher could throw the ball to the backstop and Anderson would still find a way to put the barrel on it.But overall, Andersons rate of barreled balls didnt go up considerably this year 5.1 percent in 2019 compared with 4.7 percent last year but he did have the highest average exit velocity of his career. That and doing a better job of hitting to all fields led to a BABIP of close to .400 this season, 111 points higher than what it was in 2018. Anderson benefited from a skill set that has always been there but just needed the right tweaks to let it flourish.I think about the great hitters throughout my career, and they have something you cant teach. You can try Junior Seau Jersey to emulate it, but you cant teach it, McCann said. Youre not going to teach a guy the things that Tim Anderson does because of the abilities hes been ble sed with. Hes allowing them to come out right now.McCann spent five seasons in Detroit with Miguel Cabrera, who has four batting titles, and he likened some of what he saw this year from Anderson to his old teammate.McCann also said that when he was with the Tigers, gameplanning for Anderson was relatively easy because he and his pitchers knew to just keep the ball away from the zone. Anderson would chase, they knew, and they could probably get him out. But, again, that didnt work this year.Even the pitches that he may appear to chase, hes putting the barrel on, McCann said. Its impre sive.Theres a better gameplan on Andersons part too. Hes spent a few seasons in the majors learning how pitchers approach him and better paying attention to how they pitch to hitters like him. McCann said its common for Anderson to come back to the dugout after an at-bat Brandon Facyson Jersey talking about the kinds of pitches he was looking for, a quality not always found in young hitters.Hes a young major league player whos basically been cutting his chops here at the major league level, White Sox manager Rick Renteria said.At 26, Anderson has already put in almost 2,200 plate appearances in the majors. He has clearly learned a lot about how to hit, and its getting the attention of the league. Even Indians manager Terry Francona, who was at first reluctant to offer analysis on an opposing player, couldnt help but share general yet pointed praise.Youre starting to see when the kids grow up and they know they belong. You see them turn into men, Francona said. And its like, youve gotta throw away your old scouting report because theyre doing some things different than they used to Derwin James Jersey .Anderson may have chosen to let his stick talk early this season because of the Royals blowback to him flipping his bat in April, but the work he did late last season and during the winter led to him being able to better utilize his natural skills. Anderson will probably never draw a ton of walks and could struggle to repeat his 2019 succe s because of his high swing rate and high BABIP, but his mental approach to it all is as relaxed and smooth as his Alabama drawl.Youre playing baseball, so youre going to fail some and youre going to succeed some, Anderson said, and I think if you have fun with it, you wont have to worry about those things, and the game will come to you.
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