The Texas Rangers agreed to a three year contract extension with shortstop Elvis Andrus yesterday to buy out all three of his arbitration years. The deal is worth between $14 and $15 million for the three years.
You can say whatever the hell you want to say about Andrus, but here’s a quick fact: barring something catastrophic, this three year deal will be his last contract with the Rangers. Texas has stud 18 year-old (19 this month) prospect Jurickson Profar in the minors, and he’s looking like a freight train that cannot be stopped. Profar OPSed .886 in 2011 for the low-A Hickory Crawdads, walked more than he struck out, had 57 extra base hits, and stole 23 bases. Profar is also quite handy with the glove, though maybe not as good as Andrus. The point stands that he’s a five tool prospect, and that Andrus really only excels in one area: with his glove.
Andrus is indeed a fantastic defender. DRS rates him at +28 runs over his three seasons in the majors, while UZR cumulatively has him at 19.2. That averages out to about a six to nine run defender on the positive side per year, which is definitely the sign of a great glove. But as for Andrus’s bat….it’s really not good. His career OPS is just .683, which is awful in an extreme hitter’s park like the Ballpark in Arlington.
There are a couple of things that Andrus can hold his hat onto offensively though. He doesn’t strike out a lot at all (career 13.1%), and he walks a decent bit too (career 8.5%). Andrus also has a set of wheels on him, stealing 102 bases total over his three seasons in the majors. None of those things are bad at all, but the awful .073 ISO drags everything down to a level where he’s a quintessential “scrappy” player. But Andrus is the best of all the scrappers in my opinion, because the advanced stats actually back all the garbage up. He steals bases, he gets on base, and he plays great defense. That might not be an elite player like Profar, but it’s a damn good one. If he’s able to match the 10 fWAR he posted over his first three seasons over the next three that the contract is good for, then the Rangers will definitely have gotten their money’s worth when Profar is ready for The Show.
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