As the 2020 season approaches for the Chicago White Sox, certain aspects of the team will be placed under a microscope more than they have been in the past. One of those aspects will be defensive play.
Last year, the White Sox logged the fourth-most errors in Major League Baseball with 117 in 161 games. They were just one miscue behind the Chicago Cubs. On the other side of the spectrum, the St. Louis Cardinals committed only 66 fielding mistakes, which was the lowest of all 30 teams. Within the division, the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers ranked as the sixth and seventh-worst defensive teams. The Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals ranked 25th and 28th, respectively.
Coming off of an American League batting title, the focus is still on Tim Anderson’s glove. He committed 26 errors at shortstop in 2019. It was the most on the team followed by Yoan Moncada’s 15 at third base. In 2018, Anderson’s 20 errors placed second on the club behind Moncada’s 21. However, signs point in the direction of Anderson’s defense improving this season and beyond. “TA7” seems to be a player that feeds off of criticism and has the hunger to constantly improve his game, so any doubt of the Alabama-native’s leather will likely be silenced moving forward.
A 60-game schedule heightens the importance of every single play. Any bad throw or booted ball could cost valuable runs in games that organizations seemingly can’t lose. While there is no direct evidence that a low amount of errors correlates to a World Series, the argument can be made that less defensive mishaps aid the effort of competing at the highest level possible.
With new faces, a deeper lineup, a rotation that has White Sox fans buzzing, and young stars that could have an immediate impact, the importance of catching and throwing the baseball cleanly should not be overlooked. Anderson, Moncada, and the rest of the White Sox roster should look to vastly improve their fielding in order to stay in games during the sprint of 2020.