Will Elvis Andrus Make a Fantasy Impact Next Year?

Elvis Andrus is the 20-year-old phenom coming for Michael Young’s job. Last year, Andrus was a 19-year-old holding his own in AA. He hit .295 with 54 stolen bases. The rest of his game, though, was pretty incomplete. At the dish, Andrus only walked 7.3% of the time and showed very little pop (IsoP of only .073). With the glove Elvis did not fare much better. While he has shown extraordinary range, he has not proven to be very sure-handed. He had 32 errors in 109 games which is right in line with his career .944 fielding percentage.

So with these facts in mind, why is the Rangers front-office planning on moving the very expensive Young to 3B? It seems they are trying to make room for Andrus, but the question of whether or not he’s ready is a good one. I would expect that the Rangers will employ a stopgap option at SS while they wait to see how Andrus does in the minors this year. Asking Young to move was likely similar to what the Rays did last year with Iwamura and Longoria; they did not expect Longoria to come to the Bigs so early and planned on using a stopgap at third. If Andrus does come up next year, then what can we expect?

Looking at Andrus’s MLEs, you see a slash-line of .235/.292/.290/.582 for his performance last year. This is very unimpressive. His projections are not all that pretty either. The big-ticket issue with Andrus, though, is his steals and position eligibility. If you can get 30-40 steals from a cheap SS without him killing you in other categories, then you are in business. Another thing that makes him a little more attractive is his home ballpark: Arlington. If we can bump his rate-stats up some for that then he could be useful. These MLEs also go off of a BABIP of .289. It would not be surprising to see him with a BABIP much higher considering his speed and line-drive hitting ability.

All in all, Elvis Andrus probably isn’t someone you want to draft unless you play in a pretty deep league. The best idea (and what I plan on doing) may be to keep a close eye on his minor-league box scores, the newspapers in TX, and whatever the SS for the big-squad is doing. Be poised and ready to make a waiver-request because a .290/.330/.320 line at SS with a lot of steals may just be sitting there at the All-Star Break. A less-enthusiastic projection could even see him as the SS version of Willy Taveras.

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