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White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson named AL Player of the Month

Tim Anderson exults after hitting a home run. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was named American League Player of the Month on Thursday. He soaked it in, enjoyed the moment and said he was going back to work.

“It was a great accomplishment,” Anderson said. “Hopefully I can keep going, keep working hard and continue to get better every day.”

It was a rather rare accomplishment. Anderson is the first Sox player to win the honor since Jose Abreu won it in 2014 in April and July.

Anderson did it by batting an AL-best .375 with a league-high 10 stolen bases in 10 attempts, and he ranked among the leaders in slugging percentage (fourth, .615), OPS (fifth, 1.009) and runs (sixth, 21).

He had six home runs, five doubles and 18 RBI. His average was the second-highest in the majors behind the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger (.431), the National League Player of the Month.

The average was the fourth-highest mark by a White Sox player in March/April since 1981, and his 10 stolen bases were tied for second-most in franchise history in March/April behind Kenny Lofton’s 13 in 2002.

To his credit, Anderson knows he needs to polish up his defense. He made his seventh and eighth errors Wednesday in his 24th game, the nightcap of the doubleheader against the Orioles. According to Baseball Reference, which isn’t kind to his defensive performance, he has been worth 0.7 wins above replacement.

“You see those two errors I had last night?” he said. “It let me know I have to work on defense a lot more.”

Anderson, 25, is in his fourth season with the Sox, who selected him in the first round (17th overall) in the 2013 MLB Draft. He became the first Sox shortstop to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season in 2018.

“Putting aside how outstanding his performance has been over the course of this month, I can simply talk about the passion he plays with and the excitement that he brings to the ballpark every day and the work ethic,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “If we had 25 guys in that clubhouse who approach the game like Tim Anderson does, we’d wind up with a pretty damn good ballclub.”

Jimenez healing quickly

Rookie outfielder Eloy Jimenez’s high right ankle sprain, suffered last Friday, is coming along as well as can be expected, Hahn said. Jimenez is hitting off a tee and “progressing.”

“Perhaps in the next week or so we might be able to get him out on a rehab assignment and have him return soon thereafter,” Hahn said. “He’s coming along nicely.”

Robert, Pilkington cited

Class AA Birmingham outfielder Luis Robert was named White Sox Minor League Player of the Month for April, and Class  A Kannapolis left-hander Konnor Pilkington was Pitcher of the Month, as voted by a panel of Chicago-area media members.

Robert, 21, was probably the minor-league player of the month in all of baseball. He had a .453/.512/.920 slash line with eight homers, three triples, five doubles, 24 RBI and 21 runs in 19 games with Class A Winston-Salem. He was promoted to Birmingham on Tuesday.

Robert is the No. 37 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.

Pilkington, 21, went 1-0 with a 2.01 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 22„ innings for low-A Kannapolis. He ranks fourth in the South Atlantic League in strikeouts (34) and opponents’ average (.137).

Pilkington is the No. 20 prospect in the organization.