The chief difference between Elvis Andrus' 2015 and 2016 seasons was the 44-point batting average bump and 50-point bump in batting average on balls in play, both winding up as career bests. Considering little changed in his batted-ball profile, the biggest difference maker likely was good luck. Andrus isn't much of a mystery at age 28 and 5,203 plate appearances: He doesn't offer much power, but he'll chew up plate appearances with 20-plus stolen bases, with his batting average up to what happens when he puts wood on the ball on the back of high contact rates. Frankly, he's also fortunate he plays for the Rangers, an offense who'll bolster run and RBI potential for every regular. Considering he often hits low in the order, however, his value depends too much on what he can't control. While those seeking a middle infielder in mixed leagues can settle for him, he likely reached his ceiling this past year, so it's not worth chasing more.
Andrus went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored in Wednesday's 14-3 win over the Twins. After scoring no more than six runs in any of their last eight games, the Rangers finally broke out of the offensive doldrums Wednesday, with Andrus being one of five batters in the lineup to record multiple hits. While it's looking increasingly likely that the eight extra-base hits Andrus accrued in the first nine games of the season were fluky -- he's delivered only singles in his subsequent 12 contests -- the veteran shortstop should remain a quality source of batting average, runs and stolen bases as the season wears on.
Andrus will start at shortstop and bat in the cleanup spot Sunday against the Royals. After recording eight extra-base hits in his first nine games of the season, Andrus has cooled off in the power department, but that won't prevent manager Jeff Banister from giving him a look in the heart of the lineup. Expect Andrus to move back to either the No. 2 or 6 spot in the order during the series opener with the Twins on Monday, when Mike Napoli is expected to reclaim cleanup duties following a one-game rest.
Andrus is not in the lineup for Friday's contest with the Royals. Andrus is batting below the Mendoza Line in his past seven games, so he'll head to the bench for a night off. Jurickson Profar will slide over to shortstop to fill the void while Delino DeShields Jr. takes over in left field for the evening.
Andrus went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a run scored and a pair of stolen bases in Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Athletics. Andrus' surprising power surge has been the main reason behind his early-season success, but the 28-year-old is still capable of wreaking havoc on the basepaths, too. With four stolen bases in five attempts through the Rangers' first 14 games, Andrus is well on his way to a ninth straight season of 20-plus steals.
Andrus will start at shortstop and bat second in the order Sunday against the Mariners, Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reports. Manager Jeff Banister has been using Andrus in the No. 2 hole against opposing lefties lately, but in recognition of the veteran's excellent contributions at the plate of late, the Rangers skipper will move Andrus up in the batting order Sunday against Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma. The struggling Shin-Soo Choo, meanwhile, slots lower in the lineup to make room for Andrus.
|vs CHAVEZ (CAREER)||5/18||.278||1||0||0||0||0|