Texas Rangers: Grading the shortstops


The Texas Rangers used a total of 64 different players, which 23 were rookies, during the 2014 season.  It would be easy to figure that every position had their fair share of different players, the shortstop position only used three different ones.

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The Prospect:  The number 71 overall top prospect in the majors Luis Sardinas, number 2 overall for the Texas Rangers, managed to get plenty of playing time in the 2014 season.  The Rangers didn’t plan on using him that much during the season or maybe at all.  The 20 year old  shortstop still needed plenty of development and experience and was supposed to get that with the double-A Frisco RoughRiders.

Sardinas was called up back in April for a few reason, one the Texas Rangers were without the primary second baseman Jurickson Profar and the injury bug started to bite hard in April.  Luis Sardinas was recalled up from the RoughRiders on April 19, 2014 because the Rangers placed outfielder Jim Adduci on the disabled list due to a fractured left little finger.

He recorded his first major league hit during his first at-bat against the Chicago White Sox on April 20, 2014 in Arlington.  It was a one pitch/one hit play during the bottom of the 8th off of Andre Rienzo.

Video: 04/20/14  Sardinas’ first career hit

Luis Sardinas loads the bases with an infield single to record his first Major League hit in his first at-bat

Sardinas was moved up and down a few times throughout the season, mainly to make room on the roster for players returning from the disabled list.  While in the minors he spent time with Frisco and the triple-A round Rock Express batting .281 with 1 home run and 37 RBI over 81 games.  Sardinas proved he was quick on the bases by stealing 5 bases while only being caught once this season. Several times throughout the season it was easy to tell the Sardinas was still just a prospect who still needed some development in the minors.  He made bad decisions while on base and on defense, granted other times he did look great.

He had a couple of hot streaks during the season, for example for the month of June over 13 games/ 34 at-bats he had a batting average of .324.  For the season with the Rangers he had a batting average of .261 with 6 doubles and 8 RBI over 43 games/115 at-bats.

Grading Sardinas: C+

Maybe C plus is a bit low, but it’s mainly because it lack of development showed during the season.  It showed up a more than one on the base path, at-bat once when he lost track of the count and a few times with his defense.  He is a very solid player and he’s only 21 years old.  With a bit more time in the minors to develop he can turn into an amazing middle infielder.

The Bearded Shortstop: Elvis Andrus showed up to spring training looking a little different this season.  Maybe it was because he decided that last offseason he would not play any winter baseball.

Throughout spring training it was easy to see that Andrus wasn’t as sharp has he had been in the past.  He wasn’t making very good plays at shortstop and his offense wasn’t much better. About a month into spring training Elvis commented about not being ready for the season and his arm.

"Elvis Andrus on arm: “It’s definitely not ready, but it’s getting there. It will take longer this year,” because he did less this offseason (Via Twitter Evan Grant)"

Andrus made that comment on March 1 and by late March it was still apparent he still wasn’t playing his best.  Evan Grant said he though Andrus failed a major leadership test by throwing a ball at all during the winter.  He came to spring training unprepared and not ready for the 2014 season.  The Rangers were disappointed and Elvis admitted it was a mistake, which he paid for most of the season. (Dallas News – Evan Grant )

Because Andrus wasn’t ready his arm was often sore, which did cause him miss a bit of time.  During the season he wasn’t making the same snap throws to first base and started off offensively slow in April.  Overall it was very disappointing to see the Texas Rangers star second baseman starting the season in poor shape and unprepared.  Someone who recently signed a huge multi-year contract should have been game ready back in February.

Elvis did manage to play better as the season progressed, but his lack of performance did hurt the team during the first half.  Luckily overall it didn’t really matter since the Rangers were out of the playoff hurt near mid-June.  He did end the season with a batting average of .263/.314/.333 with 35 doubles, 2 home runs and 41 RBI, which isn’t too far off what he did in 2013.

Video: 09/28/14 Andrus’ barehanded play  

Elvis Andrus snags Josh Donaldson‘s soft grounder to shortstop with his bare hand and slings to first for the out

Grading Andrus:  D+ for the for the first half of the season, B- for the second half and overall C-  

Again, might sound a little harsh, but a players that just signed a contract extension back in April of 2013 on an 8 year deal worth $120 million dollars shouldn’t arrive at spring training unprepared.  It showed poor leadership and a lack of commitment to the team.  At least Elvis has appeared to have learned his lesson.  Recently he’s said that he is going to do things different this offeseason and will arrive at camp game ready.

Elvis Andrus is a very talented player and should bounce back next season. He’s done very well in the past and has made some amazing plays.  If he’s able to find a good routine this offseason and not have any soreness or injuries next season he’ll be worth every penny the Rangers pay him.

Note: For the season Adam Rosales played shortstop 2 times, Sardinas 8 times and Andrus 135 times.  Rosales will be covered in another article.