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Tim Anderson holding head high for White Sox

Tim Anderson runs the bases earlier this month in a game for the White Sox.

Two-year-old Peyton Anderson already thinks her dad is pretty cool.

Just wait till she gets her hands on one of the bobblehead dolls that will be handed out before the game Saturday.

“She’s excited about it,” White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said. “She’s like, ‘Daddy, you’re a bobblehead — you’re going to be a bobblehead!’ She’s excited to put one in her room.”

Anderson smiled as he spoke. After a difficult 2017 season personally and professionally, he’s feeling better and is determined to develop into a well-rounded cornerstone player for the franchise.

His first big-league bobblehead represents a lighthearted milestone on his serious mission to improve.

“I just saw a few of them,” Anderson said. “They’re pretty sick — me sliding in and being safe.”

Anderson has developed impressive power to go along with his natural speed, but he likes that the bobblehead showcases his baserunning. It was his first, best skill, and one he still thinks he can perfect in the majors.

He has a career-high 24 stolen bases in 31 attempts after swiping two Friday. In the Sox’ 9-3 win over the Royals, he went 3-for-3 with a walk and fell a home run short of the cycle.

Anderson, 25, believes his stolen-base ceiling could be much higher. He just needs to reach first base more often so he can steal second.

“The goal is to get as many as I can,” said Anderson, who swiped 49 bases in 125 games at Class AA Birmingham. “My body feels great. It’s just a matter of getting on base and being more consistent with it. But every chance I get to get on base is an opportunity for me to get a bag.”

Anderson’s power did not arrive until he reached the majors. He hit 17 home runs last season, and this year he has 15 home runs with six weeks to play.

Five more homers would ensure a 20-20 campaign. For Anderson, it’s a target but not an obsession.

“It would be a great accomplishment,” Anderson said. “It’s there. It’s possible that I can do it. I try not to get too locked in on it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t, and I’ll try again next year.”

Although his bobblehead shows a baserunner, Anderson takes pride in his emerging skill set. The giveaway just as easily could have shown him swinging a bat or fielding a ball. His long-term baseball likeness is still forming.

“My identity is all over the place as I continue to get better,” Anderson said. “I’m not just focused on stealing bases. The home runs are up. Defense is better. My overall game has improved.

“I’m excited about the direction I’m heading in. I’ve got to continue to work.”

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The Sox’ 2013 first-round pick (No. 17 overall) speaks confidently about next season and the future for him and the team. He turned inward at times last season after the shooting death of his best friend, Branden Moss.

Anderson now honors Moss through his play. His wife and daughter fuel his purpose.

And he feels right at home as a quiet leader in the Sox’ clubhouse.

“I’m kind of the young old vet,” Anderson said. “I love the position I’m in. I couldn’t be more happy to be here in this locker room. We’ve got a great group of guys here and a great group of guys coming up. We’re going to be pretty special here in a few years. For me to be kind of leading that pack is definitely an honor. It’s going to be fun.”

Meanwhile, Anderson’s toddler will have a keepsake for a lifetime. As long as she doesn’t yank off her dad’s head.

“Yeah, definitely,” he said with a chuckle. “We’ll see how she handles it.”