Nobody on the Rangers had a more consistent, and surprising, offensive season than shortstop Elvis Andrus.
It was a phenomenal turn around story considering how his 2015 ended, and how the last three years of his career were trending.
Andrus vowed to put the pain of 2015 behind him. And he did. After going hitless on opening day (joining every one of his teammates except Prince Fielder), Andrus went 2-for-4 in the second game, and really never stopped the rest of the way.
After seeing his offensive numbers dwindle to mediocrity, Elvis turned it on in 2016, putting up career highs in home runs, runs batted in, batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS. In fact, only Dodgers super rookie Corey Seager had a better batting average than Andrus.
How did he compare to the World champion Cub shortstop Addison Russell?
Russell featured a lot more power, with 25 HRs and 95 RBIs, compared to Elvis’s 8 and 69. But Russell batted only .238, compared to Andrus’s .302.
Poor Elvis, though. He finally had a season worthy of notice, only to be overshadowed by so many other better, younger shortstops.
That’s because 2016 was the era of shortstops in major league baseball.
LA’s Seager will probably win the NL Rookie of the Year. He’s 22. Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor is 22 as well, and he established himself, in only his second season, as the best shortstop in the league, and this is a league that also features Xavier Bogaerts, 24, of Boston, who has a legitimate shot at the AL MVP, and Carlos Correa, also 22, of Houston, last year’s AL Rookie of the Year. And, of course, the aforementioned Addison Russell is also just 22.
Elvis used to be the next up and coming young shortstop. Now, at 28, he is a veteran heading into his eighth, and perhaps his most important, season.
Next year will hint at whether his 2016 a fluke. Or if he has, indeed, actually turned around his career.
The Rangers have a number of years left on Andrus’s contract. They could sure use 2016 Elvis for the rest of them.