Texas Ranger Positional Preview: Shortstop

Going into the 2012 season, one position the Rangers do not have to worry about is shortstop. That position is occupied by 2010 All-Star, Elvis Andrus.  Elvis is young, fast, and a good hitter at 23 years of age. Defensively he has amazing range, and a strong arm. Andrus makes a lot of fantastic plays in the field, and then can turn around and throw a ball away. He’s young, and until he matures a bit more, this may happen from time to time. However, going into his third full year, the expectations on his defense, should rise.

Defensively, Andrus is an amazing player. He has become a premier player on defense. He makes plays that most shortstops cannot. However, as I previously mentioned, he does tend to throw the ball away. The errors, are mostly throwing errors on routine plays. We can attribute that to lack of attention, or taking the play for granted. Whatever you want to classify it as, those need to be omitted from Elvis’ game. Andrus rarely throws the ball away on a spectacular play.

Offensively, Elvis can hit lead-off, 2nd, or 9th in the lineup. His versatility to move around in the lineup is a luxury that Wash (Ranger Manager Ron Washington) has. We can expect to see the same thing from young Mr. Andrus in 2012. An average above .250, a few home runs, a lot of stolen bases. As he matures, the power numbers should increase. He is currently a solid hitter, with gap power, but he also has the ability to clear the fence occasionally. I fully expect his batting Average to rise as he gets a little older, but more importantly, his On-Base Percentage should also increase.

THE BENCH:

On the bench, the situation is not yet solidified. The front runners include Alberto Gonzalez, Luis Hernandez, among others to fill the utility infield spot. Of course, the Rangers can slide Michael Young over to fill in for a game or two, to give Elvis a day off if needed. The issue, as with almost every team, at every position, is if Elvis goes down to injury, that puts the Rangers in a very tight spot. The good thing for Texas is that, despite an injury, the Rangers only need to fill the shortstop position no more than 15 times with a bench player, or Michael Young.

THE PROJECTION:

Elvis will play 154 games for the Rangers this year, leaving only 8 games that Wash will have to fill in.

THE STATS:

                      Avg   HR   RBI   SB   BB   K   E
Andrus          .294   11     65     42    72   68 13
The Bench    .230   1        3       2      3      9    2


Patrick Despain is the Editor and a Senior Staff Writer for ShutDownInning.com. He can be reached at Patrick.Despain@shutdowninning.com or on Twitter @ShutDownInning
Patrick Despain
Patrick is a member of the IBWAA and creator of Shutdown Inning. He was raised him Arlington, Texas and grew up watching games on HSE and listening to Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz on the radio. He is a long time Rangers fan and never achieved his dream of being a bat boy. He know lives in Georgia with dreams of a Texas return.

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