Texas Rangers Position Preview: It’s Nice to Have Consistency at SS

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 29: Shortstop Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers turns a double play after forcing out Denard Span #4 of the Seattle Mariners at second base on a ball hit by Guillermo Heredia #5 of the Seattle Mariners during the eighth inning of a game at Safeco Field on September 29, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 4-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 29: Shortstop Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers turns a double play after forcing out Denard Span #4 of the Seattle Mariners at second base on a ball hit by Guillermo Heredia #5 of the Seattle Mariners during the eighth inning of a game at Safeco Field on September 29, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 4-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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Over the past decade, the Texas Rangers have had many changes all over the diamond, but one spot has been very consistent throughout.

Elvis Andrus is preparing to make his 11th consecutive Opening Day start at shortstop with the Texas Rangers, and on a team that’s undergone quite a few changes over the past few seasons, it’s very nice to have someone like him at one of the most important positions on the diamond.

Elvis has been rock solid for this club over the past decade, averaging 148 games played per season, even though he only played in 97 games last season, which was a career low for him by a huge margin.

The Good

Throughout his career, Elvis has always been a pretty good contact hitter and has only had more than 100 strikeouts just once. With the exception of last season, of which he was hurt, and take a look at the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Elvis was excellent. He hit right around .300 with a combined 28 home runs, which set career highs for him in back-to-back seasons.

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Another thing to love about Elvis is that he has been extremely durable for the team, with the exception of last season, as he had never played in fewer than 145 games from 2009-2017.

Elvis is also the final player left on the team from either of the two World Series runs in 2010 and 2011.

Even though Elvis isn’t renowned for his defense like other players are, he certainly holds his own at short and has been very consistent there over the years.

The Bad

Looking at last season’s numbers, it is looking like Elvis is no longer the speed threat that he once was earlier in his career, as he failed to steal over 20 bases (just 5) for the first time in his career.

Prior to last season, Elvis had done a great job staying healthy, as he had only missed 79 games in his career prior to missing 65 in last season alone.

After having two seasons where he hit a combined .299 with 28 home runs, and posted an OBP of .348, he had a pretty big crash last season as he only managed to hit .256 with a .308 OBP (both career lows), and just 6 home runs.

Hopefully, these problems were just the result of his injury, and we can continue to see more of the 2016-17 Elvis as he and the team begin life without Beltre.

What If?

What if Elvis Andrus gets hurt again? Who will fill in?

One possible scenario could be moving Asdrubal Cabrera, a career shortstop, from his likely Opening Day spot at the hot corner over, and look to move maybe Isiah Kiner-Falefa to 3rd, and let Jeff Mathis or Jose Trevino platoon at catcher.

Cabrera moving to short seems like it would be the most likely option, and then the Rangers would have a plethora of options at third with Kiner-Falefa, Patrick Wisdom, and Eli White to fill in while Elvis is out. And even if the team doesn’t want to move Cabrera from third, they could look at both Kiner-Falefa and White at SS, given that both have experience there.

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