Charlotte Knights shortstop Tim Anderson is one of pro baseball’s top prospects, just three years removed from being a first-round draft pick.
Yet as Anderson readies for his first season playing for the Class AAA International League affilitate of the Chicago White Sox, he’s in no rush to take the big step to the next level.
“Obviously, I want to make it to the big leagues,” Anderson said. “I’ve put myself in a good situation, being in Triple-A. I’m only 22, so right now it’ll happen when it’ll happen.
“It’s something I can’t control; all I can do is control what I do on the field. I’ll just go about my business, do things the right way and it’ll happen one day.”
Anderson will make his home debut Thursday night with the Knights when they will host the Durham Bulls at BB&T BallPark. Game time is 7:05 p.m.
Along with former Vanderbilt pitcher Carson Fulmer, Anderson is one of the top minor-league prospects for the White Sox. He’s ranked the team’s No. 1 by Baseball America; MLB.com has him at No. 2 behind Fulmer, a first-round pick in 2015.
That’s a fast climb for the 17th pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, considering Anderson didn’t take up baseball until his junior year in high school.
“He’s a top-tier athlete,” said Knights manager Julio Vinas, who worked with Anderson at Class AA Birmingham in 2014 and 2015. “When you look at him and everything he does, the athleticism that he has is incredible.
“He picks up on everything fairly quickly as well – you give him some instruction, he’s very attentive to it and wants to put into play right away.”
A top-notch basketball player – he led Tuscaloosa Hillcrest High to the Alabama 6A title in 2011 – Anderson made the transition to the baseball field look effortless.
After hitting .333 and .420 in two years of high school ball, he spent two years at East Central Community College. A breakout sophomore season there, when he earned junior college All-American honors by hitting a nation-best .495, put Anderson on pro baseball’s radar.
After signing with the White Sox, Anderson began his run through the minor leagues – Class A Kannapolis in 2013, Class A Winston-Salem and Birmingham in 2014 (with a postseason stint in the Arizona Fall league), and a full year at Birmingham in 2015.
“I can see that first game (at Kannapolis) run through my head as we speak,” Anderson said. “I’ve grown a lot, offensively and defensively, and as a person – how to carry myself on the field and off the field, and how to handle the tough situations.”
While Anderson has gotten off to a rocky start with the Knights this season – he’s hitting .200 (2-for-10), and has missed the past four games with a sore wrist – Vinas doesn’t see that as anything more than a minor speed bump in the young prospect’s career.
“He’s very young, but he’s going to be an impact player in the big leagues – there’s no doubt in my mind about that,” Vinas said.
“He’s got all the tools, the desire and the drive to be an every-day big leaguer. Whether it happens right away or a year or two, it’s something that’s definitely going to happen for him.”