Sox hope they drafted a game-changer

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox are going back to the future in their pursuit of impact players. With the 17th pick in the draft, the Sox took Tim Anderson, a junior college shortstop out of Decatur, Miss. Anderson was rated the second-best shortstop available in this year's draft by Baseball America.

Now that baseball has tried to move past the steroid era, teams are looking for more athletic players with speed for the future. Anderson was not necessarily the Sox's first choice. J.R Crawford, a California high school shortstop, was picked by the Phillies one slot ahead of Chicago.

Anderson will most likely start his career as a shortstop but the Sox hope his real position will be that of a run producer. One scout said Anderson has the raw speed to develop into an impact player if he continues to progress as he has over the past season.

"He is extremely polished for the amount of baseball he has played," said Sox scouting director Doug Laumann. "He was a D-I basketball candidate and had an injury his senior year. He was kind of talked into playing baseball and has elevated his game. Last summer he played in the college summer league and had a great year and then started to garner all the attention he did this year."

Anderson is only the fifth middle infielder drafted by the White Sox with their top pick since the draft began in 1965.

At 19 the middle infield might not be Anderson's future position. His overall skill set may find him in the outfield as he moves toward the big leagues. The consensus is that he has the tools to become a power and speed player.

"The one thing he can do is change a game," Laumann said. "His ability to get on base and take extra bases are things that we felt were exciting about him."

Laumann said the entire front office saw Anderson.

"His instincts for the game were off the chart," he said. "He has very good awareness on the field, and we believe he has a chance to be a special player."