It’s arguably a make or break year for White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. With the rebuild underway, and progressing rather quickly, Anderson has a chance to really put a firm grasp on that position for many years to come. On the other hand, if things don’t go well this season there’s a chance that the Sox could look to try something different at shortstop as they continue to rebuild.

The former Sox first round draft pick is heading into his second full MLB season. Anderson finished 2017 with 151 hits, 17 HR, 56 RBI, slashing .257/.276/.402/.679, doing most of his damage while getting hot in the second half of the season. Anderson also got better defensively as the season went on, shoring up the Sox middle infield with Yoan Moncada (a duo fans hope will captain the infield for the next decade plus).

It’s also no secret that Anderson’s struggles last season were due in part to personal issues going on in his life. His best friend was shot and killed back home in Alabama. Anderson has recently opened up a bit about the ordeal, mainly on his troubles mentally playing through the mourning, grieving and recovery process, something that is totally understandable.

He’s a human being, and it just goes to show that these guys aren’t robots. They deal with real life issues too.

But at some point last season, possibly after the Marcus Stroman incident, we saw a switch in Tim Anderson. He looked like a different player, like a different man. His red-hot end of the season gave himself a nice launching pad into the much anticipated 2018 offseason. His whole demeanor and body language seemed to change, for the good.

I believe that this is going to be a career-defining season for Tim Anderson. I think he’s going to come out of the gates at a roaring pace, and will draw a lot of positive attention to himself and the White Sox. Hopefully some attention will also be put on Anderson’s off the field efforts to reduce violence in Chicago, a noble effort that shows how much he is invested in the local community.

I don’t have any fancy numbers from the spring to back this up, it’s just a gut feeling that I have. Just from reading Anderson’s body language, the tone in his voice, looking at his leadership in the clubhouse, and performance on the field this spring. It just looks like he has a healthy mind and that everything is all coming together for him.

There may have been questions about what the Sox were going to seriously be able have to at shortstop long term. I think all of those questions will be blown out of the water this season. Tim Anderson is going to grab a hold of that position, and won’t let it go.