Elvis Andrus Proving His Worth Early This Season

Apr 27, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (right) reacts after hitting an rbi trible during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 27, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (right) reacts after hitting an rbi trible during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Elvis Andrus has been on an absolutely tear early into the 2016 season and has been a big contributor to the offense.

Elvis Andrus has long been known as one of the most athletically gifted shortstops in baseball and each season he plays has been ripe with high hopes and big expectations. As a Ranger, he’s struggled to fully live up to what the club and fans expect out of him. He’s been mentioned in trade talks several times over the past couple of years but those discussions came to a head this past offseason following a less than admirable performance in the Wild Card against the Blue Jays last year (only time I’ll mention it, I promise).

With the beginning of each season, we hear the scouts talk about how Andrus is a different player, especially offensively. He consistently seems to add power and change his approach at the plate. In fact, this is the first year I can remember in the past few that the “Elvis is a better hitter this year” talk hasn’t been very evident.

However, the lack of talk has not been a bad thing. Elvis Andrus has been an absolute beast at the plate for Texas, coming in clutch in more than a couple of games and consistently finding gaps for extra-bases. He leads the team in triples with three so far which is tops in the American League and tied for the Major League lead. Those triples tie his 2014 and 2015 totals combined and along with those triples, he’s got four doubles for Texas.

His approach at the plate seems to have changed for the better as he’s really developed his ability to go the other way. He’s 11 for 24 on balls hit to the opposite field side, good for a .458 average. He has a .833 OBP which is the highest his average has ever been at this point in the season or later. His statistics are phenomenal with his slugging percentage at .463, nearly 100 points higher than his career high.

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Despite all the great stats, what seems to have changed the most from Elvis is his maturity at the plate. From at least my viewpoint, he seems to be going with pitches better this season. He’s taking pitches on the middle half of the plate and out, the other way, while turning on pitches on the inner half. He’s not forcing pitches the other way regardless of their location. His swings aren’t as free with his more disciplined approach.

Many people, myself included, jumped off of the Elvis bandwagon last year following the playoffs (sorry, last time I promise). His production wasn’t awful but not nearly worth his 8 year/$118 million contract. However, if he can maintain any semblance of this production, many people will jump right back on. He is a quality shortstop which is hard to come by these days and he’s only 27 years old meaning he’s in the heart of his prime.

Where Elvis’ production could start to be an issue is what to do with Jurickson Profar. Profar is too good to leave in your Minor League system but with Odor and a solid performing Elvis, there’s really no place for him on the field. But all of this is a problem we can face down the road, right now, we just need to keep hoping Elvis maintains this level of production.

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