One of the most talked about young players in fantasy baseball heading into the 2010 draft season is Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.
Last year we talked a little bit about him and his potential as a sleeper due to some buzz about him on Twitter as rumors swirled about Michael Young requesting a trade. Instead of the trade, Young moved to 3B and Andrus took over at short.
He stole a whole bunch of bases in the minors and earned the starting SS position on Opening Day. Andrus’ rookie season went pretty much as planned – high on speed, decent on run production, and low on power. He batted .267 with 6 home runs, 40 RBI, 72 runs and 33 steals. He’s the 10th player in MLB history to log 20 steals in a season under the age of 21.
The last player to do that? Andruw Jones.
So what the heck can we expect from Elvis Andrus in the fantasy baseball 2010 season? Currently, we have him ranked no. 13 overall among shortstops. The biggest detriment to Andrus is his power production, and that should continue to limit him as a starting fantasy shortstop in 2010. In fact, every shortstop we have ranked ahead of him has hit more than 10 home runs on a consistent basis throughout their career.
Now, if Andrus has added a little bit of muscle and can double his home run production from last year, then it would make sense that he could be a useful low-end starting shortstop. Based on what I’m seeing as his 2010 projections on sites like FanGraphs and CBS Sports, I don’t see enough improvement in the power department to recommend Andrus as a starter in standard mixed leagues. Instead, take a flier on Andrus late in mixed leagues as a fill-in on travel days for speed and run production.
Proceed with caution, however, and don’t reach for Andrus. Speed is overvalued in fantasy baseball, no doubt. But don’t overvalue speed on draft day. There are a plethora of mid-range value outfielders who steal some bases and produce much more in the other four categories than Andrus will in 2010. Put together a platoon of potential 20-20 outfielders on your bench and drafting a player like Andrus becomes unnecessary.