Elvis Andrus Player Projection No. 49

Key Stats: Elvis Andrus finished tied for 9th in batting average, 7th in OBP, and 13 in OPS among shortstops last season. Where he gets drafted should depend on if your league is progressive or traditional in the stat categories.

Skeptics Say: As the OPS above would indicate, Andrus does not get very many hits for extra base hits. Last season was actually a vast improvement compared to 2010. Andrus went from only 18 extra base hits to 35 extra base hits in almost the exact same number of at-bats. Still – 35 extra base hits is nothing when you consider that some of the players being taken off the board when he is jumping off the board could get 35 home runs. And when you look at his run in the playoffs (one double in 68 at-bats) all the growth from the regular season is easy to ignore.

Peer Comparison: The last shortstop to go to two World Series in his first three seasons was Derek Jeter. Andrus isn’t going to be in the same class as Jeter for his career (who is?), but he’s only 23. There is still a ton of room for growth, and keeper leagues need to decide who has more room – Andrus or 22-year-old Starlin Castro. Here is a look at the average season for both players over the last two seasons:

Player

Runs

HR

SB

RBI

AVG

OPS

Andrus

92

2

34

48

.272

.676

Castro

72

6

16

54

.304

.766

It’s very close between them, but Castro got cheated with some games in his rookie season as he was playing at Triple-A. Next season I do believe Castros has the better upside as he can hit for more power and could even be a middle of the order guy and produce numbers across the board. Over the long haul (the next ten to twelve years), I believe Andrus will be the better and more consistent fantasy player. We have already seen that Castro can be immature as he is having to deal with being the best player on a bad team. Andrus meanwhile has done nothing but win and has been surrounded by professional veterans. Andrus is being raised in a better environment and has a much better chance to succeed in the long term.

Team Outlook: The Rangers were in the top three in virtually any important stat other than OBP last season (they were fifth). Andrus played a huge role in that as the team’s number two hitter, but he needs the other players to make him better. When Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton were out last year (both didn’t play for most of May), Andrus’ numbers suffered as May was his worst month in terms of OBP.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #7 Shortstop; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #4 Shortstop & #35 Overall; Yahoo: #5 Shortstop & #41 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #5 Shortstop & #39 Overall; RotoChamp: #81 Overall

Projection: If you had to guess if he will take a step forward or a step back, there’s more indications that he should take a step forward this season.

95 R 5 HR 58 RBI 39 SB .285 AVG .352 OBP .715 OPS