Even before Adrian Beltre’s retirement last November, Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus was already the team’s longest-tenured player. Even though everyone rightfully proclaimed the future-Hall-of-Famer Beltre as the face of the Rangers after the departures of Michael Young and Josh Hamilton over the years, Andrus has been here longer than any other player as 2019 will be his 11th season in Texas. Entering this season, Elvis sits at fifth all-time in games played for Texas trailing just Michael Young, Rafael Palmeiro, Jim Sundberg and Pudge Rodriguez. In fact, with just 107 games separating Elvis at #5 and Palmeiro at #2 on that list, a healthy season should vault him to second all-time on this list sometime this summer.
A healthy season for Elvis Andrus is usually a given, but it was not one for him last season, unfortunately.
.256 BA, .308 OBP, .367 SLG, 97 games played (career low)
Contract: $15.25 salary for 2019, able to opt out after this season. If not exercised, signed through at least 2022 (2023 option).
While Elvis’ overall 2018 numbers were not pretty, a lot of that can be blamed on him missing a couple months after he broke his elbow in the incident above within the first few weeks of the season.
In the first 14 games of the season, Andrus was red-hot at the plate with a .327 BA and a .926 OPS. As evidenced by his final numbers, that early season form was never retained after returning from the injury.
There was a lot of excitement for the 2018 season Elvis could put together following the 2016-2017 campaigns he had. After hitting a career high 8 home runs in 2016, Andrus followed that by obliterating that number with 20 dingers in 2017. Not that anyone really banks on power as part of his game, but it sure was cool to see him have 20 homers, yes, 2-0, in one season.
Based on watching the video above, the number one thing people will look to Elvis for in 2019 is being the new hands-down leader in the clubhouse of the rebuilding Rangers. With a rookie manager in Chris Woodward and very few of the Rangers players being over the age of 30 like Andrus, the fun-loving shortstop who is just as well known for being seen smiling on the field as he is for playing well on it will now need to be the main leader of a team.
On the field, Andrus should be counted on for at least 145 games of slightly above-average play at shortstop and a solid bat the Rangers use towards the top of their lineup. On the basepaths, he has somewhat lost a step over the two years. In 97 games last season, he had only five stolen bases in eight attempts. Although he had 25 swipes in 2017, he was thrown out on 10 steal attempts. If the Rangers want to be an improved offense that is able to score in different ways besides the long ball, guys like Elvis and Delino DeShields will need to be wreaking havoc on the basepaths.
2018 projection: .275 BA, .340 OBP, .430 SLG, 8 HR, 60 RBI, 34 Doubles
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