Drafting at No. 17, the White Sox were hopeful an impact player would be available by the time they picked as they watched their targets get picked by teams ahead of them.
But the Sox got exactly what they wanted with their selection of East Central Community College (Miss.) shortstop Tim Anderson – an impact player who also fulfills a need.
“The one thing he can do is he can change a game,” Sox director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann said. “His ability to get on base with his on-base percentage as well as his ability to take extra bases, that’s one of the things that we thought was really exciting about him.”
The Sox have wanted to improve the talent and depth within the organization at middle infield positions and Anderson’s athleticism was also highly appealing at a premium position.
Anderson has the opportunity to be tabbed as shortstop Alexei Ramirez’s successor. Ramirez is 31-years-old and has two years remaining on his contract plus an option for 2016. The Sox also considered drafting a college pitcher at No. 17.
“We are pretty confident that he will stay at shortstop, and we certainly will give him every opportunity to stay there,” Laumann said. “But he’s got enough offensive potential and enough bat that if he has to move somewhere and he has to go to the outfield, we are all thinking he’s a top of the order guy because he’s a plus-plus runner, great stolen base numbers over the years.”
Anderson, a first-team NJCAA Division II All-American this season, hit .495 with 62 runs scored to lead the nation and finished with 41 stolen bases, second most in the country. Anderson hit 10 homers, 11 triples, 18 doubles and 45 RBIs with a .563 on-base percentage.
“Two years ago, out of high school, I didn’t have any offers for real,” Anderson said. “I had one offer to play baseball at East Central. I never thought I would be here someday.”
Anderson, 19, compared himself to Toronto’s Jose Reyes in terms of possessing the same tools. He wants to sign as soon as possible to get to work in the minor leagues.
“I see myself as a shortstop,” Anderson said. “A lot of people doubt me but I want to prove them wrong and stay at shortstop.”
The Sox added a young arm with their second round pick, drafting 18-year-old right-hander Tyler Danish from Durant High School. Danish went 15-1 this season striking out 156 and walking 16 batters.