Elvis Andrus has very quietly had a disappointing season for the Texas Rangers. Should he receive a pass or should fans be more critical of his performance?
Yes, Rougned Odor has been a disappointment this season, as has Nomar Mazara. We’ve covered their struggles rather frequently, but Nolan Writin’, nor other Texas Rangers news outlets, have covered the struggles of Elvis Andrus in 2019.
Andrus got off to a sizzling start to the regular season. He finished April with a .361 batting average, .425 on-base percentage and 1.008 OPS. He also hit five home runs in the opening month. It seemed as if another 2017-esque campaign was in the wakes for the two-time All-Star.
He lost momentum in May, hitting just .234, but then regained it in June when he hit .311 over 28 games. In the first half combined, Andrus posted a .303 batting average, .339 OBP and 110 OPS+ (100 is league average).
Thus far in the second half, he’s hitting .226 with a .270 OBP and a 50 OPS+. Andrus has left the ballpark just twice and he’s driven in only 18 runs. His batting average with runners in scoring position is .238 on the season. Routinely batting second or third in the Texas Rangers lineup, the Captain has not produced as expected at the plate.
Elvis Andrus is Mr. Consistent. He has played his entire career with the Rangers, and he’s quickly climbing up franchise leaderboards in hits and games played. He’s been loyal to the organization, caused no drama and shown off his smile even when times are bad.
Have all of those things developed a soft spot for him among Texas Rangers fans? Are fans easier on him than they are other members of the club?
The answer to each question is yes. Andrus has earned respect. He’s given the organization enough to warrant the acceptance of a down season, especially one that coincides with a non-contending season for the club.
Frankly, he has always been a fan favorite. He was adored from the start, even when his promotion to the major leagues forced Texas Rangers’ Hall of Famer Michael Young to third base. He was the young and excitable kid during the World Series runs, always fitting in with veterans like Young, Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli.
He may have cost the Rangers a series win in the 2015 postseason when he made two haunting errors in an abysmal 7th inning against the Toronto Blue Jays. Still, any backlash towards him was short-lived.
I did not intend for this article to be a soap box, or to encourage fans to like Elvis Andrus less. I’m a massive Andrus fan myself. That said, it’s intriguing how little anyone seems to care when he struggles.
His batting average has dropped 36 points since the end of June. His slugging percentage has dropped 64 points since the end of June. Andrus has had a bad year; therefore, he should be held accountable just as much as any other Ranger who has had a bad year.
Maybe he can receive a pass in 2019, a season in which Texas will fall well short of the playoffs. But there should be no pass in 2020. The Rangers will have a new stadium, and, for the first time in a while, they’ll have relatively high expectations. As a clubhouse leader and face of the franchise, Andrus must lead the way in performance, not just attitude.
Perhaps the front office can sign an offensive threat or two this offseason to take some of the pressure off of Andrus. Perhaps a few of the young Rangers can take on more prominent offensive roles as well.
Elvis Andrus doesn’t have to be, nor should he be the team’s most relied upon hitter. But he needs to be better than he has been so far in 2019. He has contributed a ton to the franchise, though the present is more important than the past. For the Texas Rangers, the future is most important. Texas needs more from Elvis in the immediate future. Fans need more from Elvis in the immediate future.