Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Is Elvis Andrus “Back” Or Is A Regression Coming?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus has put up some solid fantasy seasons, for the most part he is often viewed as overvalued. Did he change our opinion after a strong 2016 campaign, though? Before we can try to answer that lets first look at the numbers:

506 At Bats
.302 Batting Average (153 Hits)
8 Home Runs
69 RBI
75 Runs
24 Stolen Bases
.362 On Base Percentage
.439 Slugging Percentage
.333 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Clearly there’s value, but are the stats believable? Can we expect him to replicate them in 2017, or even improve further? Or are things likely to head back in the wrong direction?

Obviously the biggest impact was in his average, as it was the first time he hit over .300 in a season. The BABIP isn’t unreasonable, considering a 23.8% line drive rate, and he’s always shown the ability to make consistent contact (12.3% strikeout rate vs. a career mark of 13.1%).

The fact that he maintained a strong average throughout the season is also promising :

  • First Half – .294
  • Second Half – .314

That said, there was a distinctive split in his line drive rate (25.8%/20.9%), which does put the second half number into serious question. A career 21.6% line drive rate makes that the more believable mark, and his .346 BABIP over that span is unlikely to be replicated. In other words .300 doesn’t seem likely, especially for a player with limited power potential.

It’s promising that he didn’t show a big regression in stolen bases, something that has been common throughout his career, with 14 SB in the first half and 11 in the second half. Is that enough, though?

It’s not like he’s suddenly going to get on base significantly more, with the expected regression in his batting average and modest walk rate (7.8% for his career). So expecting him to jump up to 35+ SB would be misguided. The fact that he spent the bulk of his time hitting seventh (247 AB), eighth (120 AB) or ninth (83 AB) adds to the concerns, because it means fewer AB overall and less chances to run (as well as a lower upside in runs scored).

So we have a non-power hitter who is going to see a regression in his average and could struggle to expand on his SB total (which was only modest). Sound like an investment worth making?

Sure his 2016 campaign was solid, but don’t let it convince you to put him back on your buy list. He’s a low-end option, at best.

Sources – Fangraphs, CBS Sports

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