I’ve already given my early projections on Alcides Escobar (click here to view) and Everth Cabrera (click here to view), so let’s finish off the trifecta of young shortstops by looking at Elvis Andrus.
Of the three, Andrus was the most impressive in 2009, mostly as a 20-year old (he turned 21 in late August), posting the following line:
480 At Bats
.267 Batting Average (128 Hits)
6 Home Runs
33 Stolen Bases
.329 On Base Percentage
.373 Slugging Percentage
.307 Batting Average on Balls in Play
He spent the majority of his time hitting ninth, which certainly hurt his potential a bit. However, when he was given the chance to hit second (130 at bats), he really shined, hitting .277 with 21 R and 12 SB. Extrapolate those numbers over a full season and your talking about a shortstop who scores 90 runs and steals 40 bases.
Just how many others reached those levels in 2009? There were only seven shortstops who scored at least 90 runs and none of them reached the 40 SB plateau. Jimmy Rollins stole 31, leading the way of those players, though he has the potential to reach the 40 SB plateau, as does a healthy Jose Reyes. Outside of those two, Andrus brings a skill set to the table that not many others at the position have the potential to each.
The real question is if he will get a chance to spend the majority of 2010 in the number two whole. It’s early and there are still a lot of moves to be made, but I have to believe that he will at this point. Without Marlon Byrd, they will need to reshuffle things, including using both Ian Kinsler and Michael Young in the middle of the order (unless the Mike Lowell trade is finalized). That leaves Julio Borbon and Andrus to set the table.
That certainly gives him the potential to score a lot of runs and steal more bases. While simply using his number while hitting second isn’t perfect, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise either if he reached those levels.
You have to like the potential for his average to increase. While his BABIP was solid, he certainly has the speed to maintain a better mark than he did in 2009.
He showed a solid eye at the plate, striking out just 16.0% of the time. At his age, being that disciplined is definitely a promising sign and could mean some very good things from him. With his speed, if he can continue to make consistent contact, he’ll have the potential to hit .300 consistently. It likely won’t happen in 2010, but the potential is there.
The power isn’t there yet and I wouldn’t expect him to develop it so quickly either. He had a flyball rate of just 23% in 2009 and that type of number makes it impossible to be a big-time threat. As he ages and gains strength it’s possible he gets there, but if he hits more than 10 in 2010 it’ll be a surprise.
With all that said, let’s take a look at what I’d expect from Andrus in 2010:
.286 (153-535), 9 HR, 45 RBI, 90 R, 37 SB, .335 BABIP, .352 OBP, .407 SLG
Those are certainly numbers that any owner would be happy with, right? As I said, what the Rangers do moving forward will give us a little bit of a better idea how their lineup will be built. If things change and Andrus once again finds himself hitting towards the bottom of the order (like probably would happen with the acquisition of Lowell), the runs scored in particular will drop. Time will tell on that.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Andrus could live up to these projections? Will he be better or worse?
Make sure to check out some more of our early 2010 projections, including:
Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.