Once again, Tim Anderson outperformed his expected metrics and hit .322 with ten home runs, 45 runs scored and five stolen bases in the shortened 2020 season. He rode a .383 BABIP last year to that high batting average, but to his credit, he maintained his walk rate and strikeout rate from recent seasons. Furthermore, he did post a 10.1 percent barrel rate, which is far and away a career best for him, and it helped him exceed his career marks in the HR/FB department.


His 10.1 percent barrel rate was impressive last year and put him in the 65th percentile of hitters. For comparison’s sake, from 2016-2019, he was never higher than the 47th percentile, and as low as the 31st percentile.



He was able to do it by impressive, yet likely unsustainable increases against fastball and breaking pitches. The Chicago shortstop was able to increase his marks by more than double what he posted in 2019, and while it’s unlikely he maintains the same rates, there’s optimism that his 2021 metrics should remain North of his 2018 and 2019 marks.


As I mentioned earlier, his strikeout rate remained intact, but one must assume that he was rather lucky for that to be the case. Take a look at the graph below, courtesy of FanGraphs.


Sure, there was a slight jump in his strikeout rate, but should it have been more substantial than just one and a half percentage points? If you’re asking me, I’d say yes. Look at all of the other marks there: Contact in the strike zone? Down. Contact rate overall? Down. Even his swinging strike rate was elevated. His chase rate remains a bit elevated. If you led with all of that information, I’d presume that his strikeout rate would have jumped substantially. However, that’s not the case. Anderson was lucky on many levels, and this is just another one. Hey, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.


He hit less line drives than 2019, and unfortunately, traded those in for an elevated ground ball rate. It was the first season since 2017 where he posted a ground ball rate above 50 percent, and his 54.7 percent mark in 2020 was the highest of his career. His 2.07 GB/FB rate is high, and hard to imagine him sustaining a HR/FB rate above 20. His career mark is 15.4 percent, and he hung out right around there every year until 2020. He’s not a 20+ percent HR/FB guy. 


Fun fact: There were nine guys in 2020 that posted a GB/FB ratio above 2.00 and a ground ball rate above 50 percent. Only DJ LeMahieu had a higher HR/FB ratio than Anderson, and only four had a HR/FB rate in double-digits.






DJ LeMahieu




Tim Anderson




Josh Bell




J.D. Davis




David Fletcher




Isiah Kiner-Falefa




Jonathan Villar




Nicky Lopez




Raimel Tapia





Anderson is good for stolen bases, but he’s very streaky when he does it. His stolen bases come in bunches. Take a look for yourself:


  • 2019 - 15 steals in first 70 games, two steals in final 53 games

  • 2018 - 21 steals in first 82 games, five steals in final 54 games

  • 2017 - Five steals in first 78 games, ten steals in final 68 games


Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point to Anderson’s batting average and how heavily-reliant he is on an inflated BABIP.


  • 2016 - .283 AVG, .375 BABIP, .262 xBA

  • 2017 - .257 AVG, .328 BABIP, .249xBA

  • 2018- .240 AVG, .289 BABIP, ,228 xBA

  • 2019 - .335 AVG, .399 BABIP, .296xBA

  • 2020 - .322 AVG, .383 BABIP, .293 xBA


I don’t want to say Anderson is a bad hitter, because he’s not. Well, somewhat. There are some obvious flaws in his offensive game and holes in his bat, but he continues to outperform expectations. Being fast certainly helps too, but he is not a guy that will hit over .300 year in and year out. He should be right in line with his expected batting averages, which routinely come in the .250 range. To Anderson’s credit though, here are his numbers since returning from injury in late-July of 2019, spanning 102 games played.


  • 17 home runs, 87 runs scored, seven stolen bases, an 87.4 mph average exit velocity and a whopping .340 batting average


His power-speed combination presents an interesting value as the ninth shortstop off the board, per NFBC data. However, in 15-team formats he’s not cheap, likely costing you a late-third or early-fourth round pick. Anderson’s potential to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases likely justifies his price alone, but to really profit on your investment, you need Anderson’s batting average to remain elevated. The 27-year-old shortstop is in a great lineup that should help pad his counting stats, but as one of the building blocks of your fantasy baseball team, you have to ask yourself one question when drafting Anderson: can he get a third straight season with an insane BABIP fueling his batting average, or does his below average batted ball profile prevail and drive his batting average down?

Statistical Credits: