At age 21, Elvis Andrus is the youngest position player in the league. The Rangers’ shortstop finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year awards in 2009, putting up great numbers, including 33 stolen bases, just under a .270 average, and six home runs. His speed makes him a huge threat on the base paths and with his good eye at the plate adding to his ability to get on base this season, the Rangers have him batting first in the lineup consistently this season.
While Andrus is no slouch on offense, where he is really beginning to shine is on the diamond. The Rangers and manager, Ron Washington, felt he executed the position of shortstop so well, they were even willing to move franchise-player Michael Young over to third to make way for the young Venezuela-native.
Originally signed by the Atlanta Braves in 2005 when he was just 16, Elvis Andrus remained under the radar until he was traded to the Rangers in 2007 in a huge deal with four other players, (one of which was Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Rangers current catcher), for Ron Mahay and Mark Teixeira.
Elvis Andrus only played one season with the Texas Rangers’ AA Frisco Roughriders team, in which he blazed around 54 stolen bases, hit for just under .300 at .295, as well as scoring nearly 100 runs. Last year, he was only the tenth player in history to reach 20 stolen bases when younger than 21.
After spring training in 2009, new Rangers’ manager Ron Washington decided that 20-year old Elvis Andrus was his starting shortstop. Thus, Andrus made his major league debut for the Texas Rangers on their home-opener on April 6, 2009. With only one player younger than him in the league in Detroit pitcher, Rick Porcello, Andrus is establishes himself as the youngest everyday player in the MLB.
With the numbers he’s putting up so far this year according to ESPN, ranking 6th in steals and 10th in the AL in on base percentage, Andrus is solidifying his role in the Rangers organization. In this young 2010 season, he has also put up a .296 AVG, which, if he can keep and possibly push over the .300 mark, could see him on an All-Star roster come July.
All this to say, this writer expects a lot of good things out of this young shortstop. Elvis Andrus is one of those players who looks as if he simply loves what he’s doing. And why wouldn’t he? He’s a kid living the dream. With some pitchers he faces over fifteen years older than him, its no doubt that he looked up to and idolized many of the players he now plays with. But let me be the first to say that he’ll soon be the one whom kids around the baseball world want to be “when they grow up”.