Chicago White Sox's Anderson wins AL batting title
Last year, he was No. 53.
This season, he's No. 1.
Tim Anderson put the finishing touches on a remarkable bounce-back year with the bat Sunday and became the first Chicago White Sox hitter to win the American League batting title since Hall of Famer Frank Thomas in 1997.
Even though the 26-year-old shortstop was 0-for-2 in Sunday's 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field in the final game of the regular season, he finished with a .335 average. The Yankees' DJ LeMahieu was second in the batting race at .327.
"It's such a huge accomplishment," said Anderson, the Sox's first-round draft pick in 2013. "I think of where I was when I first came here to where it is now, man. I just came in and continue to work, and it's such an unbelievable moment for me.
"I never knew it was going to be like this. I just continue to work. This year was huge, coming in with a lot of confidence and just believing and trusting in the work that I've been doing. Here we are now."
In addition to Thomas, Luke Appling was the only other White Sox hitter to win a batting title. The Hall of Fame infielder did it in 1936 and 1943.
Among qualified AL hitters in 2018, Anderson batted .240 and ranked 53rd in the league.
"It's huge, obviously," Anderson said. "But I prefer to be playing for something I can share with the whole squad, which is playing for the World Series."
Anderson hit .240 last season and added almost 100 points to his average this year.
"The jump in batting average has obviously been remarkable," said Sox general manager Rick Hahn. "I think it's a historic improvement from one year to the next, at least for this organization. He's always had the hands and the quickness to do damage in and around the zone, as we've seen. I think a little added level of confidence has come this year as well as some modest tweaks mechanically that have helped unlock that.
"Obviously, the baseball gods have smiled upon him, too, for the most part, and it's been a sensational year for Timmy. He should go into this off-season very proud of what he's accomplished and at the same time knowing he's also capable of doing even better."
Anderson finished the final month of the season with 37 hits, tying him for the second-highest total in the major leagues.
"He is, if not a star now, a star in the making," manager Rick Renteria said. "A lot of hard work, lot of perseverance, lot of quality at-bats. Probably a little luck as well, just like any hitter. But he was very consistent barrel to the baseball, he found a lot more holes than anybody else and was able to maintain it and do it."