I’m going to make a statement that no one is going to agree with. I’m fine with that. The last seven years there hasn’t been a more consistent offensive performer at shortstop than Elvis Andrus. There hasn’t been. Do me the honor of allowing me to explain that statement before you write it off as the ramblings of a madman.
THE CONSISTENCY FACTOR
Elvis Andrus has stolen at least 21 bases each season the last seven years. No other shortstop can match that mark. In fact, no other player in baseball can match that mark (read that again).
Andrus is a .270 career batter. Boring, not sexy. Over the last seven years he’s been between .258 and .286 reach season. That’s .012 points down and .016 points up from his average. Compare that to Mike Trout, who is a career .304 batter, and has had seasons of .287 and .326, that’s .017 points down and .022 points up. That’s a bigger spread than Andrus.
Andrus has scored at least 69 runs each of the last seven seasons. There are only six other players in baseball that can match that run. None of them is a shortstop other than Andrus.
- In each of his seven seasons Andrus has struck out between 74 and 97 times. #Consistent
- In each of his last seven seasons Andrus has posted a BB/K ratio between 0.48 and 0.76. Only once has the mark been over 0.67. #Consistent3
- In each of the last seven seasons Andrus has appeared in at least 145 games. In each of the last five that number jumps to 150. In each of the last four the number is at least 156. There aren’t many options in baseball that can match that run of health. Only he and Alexei Ramirez have appeared in 145 in seven straight and 150 in five straight. No other shortstop in baseball can match his four-year run of health.
See what I’m saying about Andrus being the most consistent shortstop the last seven years?
- In each of the last six seasons Andrus has walked between 46 and 64 times. #Consistent2
- The last five years – cheating a bit – Andrus has driven in at least 60 runners in 4-of-5 seasons. Over those five seasons he’s averaged 58.4 RBI. Again, consistency.
- In 6-of-the-last-7 seasons Andrus has posted a BABIP between .305 and .332. Last season was the only time he missed at .283. Also, in 5-of-7 years the mark has been between .305 and .317.
- In 4-of-5 season Andrus GB/FB ratio has been between 2.51 and 2.81 (he missed last year at 1.48).
- Andrus career wOBA is .304. The last three seasons the mark has been between .291 and .296.
- In four straight seasons his line drive rate has been between 20.5 and 21.9 percent. His career rate is 21.3 percent.
THIS ONE IS DIFFERENT
As you can tell, this Player Profile is different than most of the ones that I pen. The reason, I hope, is obvious. Andrus is consistently the same performer. It’s not elite, it’s not exciting, it’s not league winning. He’s just bloody consistent.
Check out the shortstop position this season. Are you going to pay an elite price for Carlos Correa? Are you going to go all in on Troy Tulowitzki knowing that there is no way you can know how many games he will play this season? Are you going to hope that Francisco Lindor duplicates his success from last season? The point is that there are many directions one can go at shortstop this season. My general advice, again note the term “general,” is that there is no reason to engage in the rat-race at shortstop. Take your time. Be patient. If you end up with Andrus, who is limited in many respects, it may not be as bad as you think.
10-team Mixed: Andrus is consistent and does steal bases. We’ve established that. At the same time, there’s nothing in the batting average and homer categories, he’s not very accomplished in RBI either, so in a league as shallow as this one Andrus may not help you enough. Think of him as more of a middle infield play to get those steals you’re searching for.
12-team Mixed: I’d be content with him as my shortstop in this format. His average won’t hurt, and though his production took a bit of a downturn last season Andrus won’t turn 28 until August so it’s very reasonable to expect him to gain that little bit back to return to who he has always been. I’ll build my roster at other spots and then pounce on Andrus when he’s the best guy left at the position without a worry.
15-team Mixed: The deeper you get, the more likely it is that guys who aren’t “complete” players can still help you a lot. While someone else is running out at shortstop their .260-15-60-60-2 guy, you can trot out Andrus and his .270-4-40-70-25 line. Let me ask you. Is it harder to find 11 homers over your roster or 23 steals? I vote the steals. It’s not like it’s that long ago that Andrus was stealing bases. After all, he swiped 35 bases, as an average, in 2013-14.
AL-Only: Steals matter even more here. That alone gives Andrus tons of value. I also consider consistency to be a huge factor in league specific setups. Note also the health factor that was mentioned above. Stability should be a key term every league specific player remembers on draft day. Andrus has that in spades.
To see where Andrus ranks amongst other shortstops take a look at our 2016 Rankings that are part of the MLB Draft Guide.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday through Friday, 7 PM EDT and Friday on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 6 PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work at Fantasy Alarm and on Twitter (@baseballguys).