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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: ELVIS ANDRUS SS TEXAS RANGERS

Elvis Andrus.  Remember him?  It would be easy to forget coming into the 2017 season as Andrus becoming old news when compared to the hotshot new young shortstops such as Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and other upstarts.  While Andrus once was a top five fantasy baseball shortstop during his early Texas years, he had become more of an afterthought coming into the season due to seeing a few seasons where his average dipped into mediocre range and his steals sank under the 30 mark.  While Andrus did hit .302 in 2016, his 8 home runs and 24 steals left owners wanting more.  So when 2017 drafts rolled around, Andrus was the shortstop his fantasy baseball owners "settled"for when the Correa's and Lindor's were off the board and they no doubt tried to make spring training trades in order to improve the spot.  Looking back at this now, it would be a completely laughable memory after Andrus went 4-for-5 Wednesday afternoon which included his 20th HR of the season with a .305 average.  The 20 home runs are not a misprint and what is really ridiculous is that when Andrus hit his 9th home run months ago, THAT was a new career-high.  11 homers later and with a month to go in the season, Andrus at 29 is having a spectacular career year.  Throw in 90 runs scored, 80 RBI, and 23 steals and Andrus' five-tool bonanza numbers are what you would see in the second round of typical drafts.

So what happened here?  How did Andrus all of a sudden become a slugger?  This is the same question that has been asked of Scooter Gennett owners and many other players this season as baseball has something going on with a juiced ball, juiced players, or what not.  Since we have no evidence of such a happening, we instead need to focus on Andrus reaching his prime years and adding power as he moves closer to 30.  He has become more of a slugger in swinging for the fences which can be seen in Andrus' 15.8 K/9 which is quite a bit upwards from the 12.3 mark he had in 2016.  Walking at just a 5.4 BB/9 clip, Andrus again is swinging for homers like never before.  So right there is good proof that his approach has changed.  What is even more exciting is that Andrus is still running and for the second season in a row is hitting .300.  Put everything together and we have a monster offensive player who came on the cheap in 2017 fantasy baseball.

Now in terms of the future, we can easily see Andrus slide back in the power department next season given his outlier performance in the home run column in 2017.  However that could help keep his draft cost down below where it should be after such a big campaign and so buying in again is looking like a nice strategy to take.  Either way, Andrus has been one of the stories of the season.


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