Will the Real Texas Rangers Shortstop Elvis Andrus Please Stand Up?

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COMMENTARY | The Texas Rangers rewarded 2-time All-Star shortstop Elvis Andrus with an 8-year, $118 million contract in the offseason.

More than 2 months into the 2013 season, they are still waiting for their All-Star shortstop to appear.

Andrus' numbers are down in almost every meaningful offensive category this year. Based on his OPS, which is generally a pretty good measure of how good a player is offensively, Andrus is one of the worst offensive players in the major leagues in 2013. He currently sports a .607 OPS, which ranks him 151st out of 163 players in the major leagues who have enough plate appearances to qualify for the league lead. Andrus has an OPS+ of 62, meaning his OPS is 38 percent below the league average.

For fans more in to "traditional" stats who don't buy much into OPS, consider this: Andrus has only 10 extra-base hits (7 doubles and 3 triples) in 280 plate appearances. While he was never much of a power threat, he does have a career high of 6 homers set as a 20-year-old rookie in 2009 when he was 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting. He has 14 home runs in nearly 4 1/2 seasons for his career but none so far this year.

One category in which he is excelling is stolen bases. Andrus has been successful in 16 of 18 stolen-base attempts for an 89 percent success rate (he stole 21 all of last season in 31 attempts). The problem is that before a player can steal, he has to get on base, which Andrus is not doing with near enough regularity this year. His on-base percentage is a paltry .305 and what's even more baffling, he's batting leadoff for the Rangers when he should be hitting in the bottom of the order. A .305 OBP combined with a .302 slugging percentage over 711 plate appearances (the number of PAs he had last year) at the top of the order will absolutely kill a team's chances to score runs.

Defensively, Andrus is typically among the league leaders in double plays started, putouts and assists as a shortstop (he's also among the league leaders in errors, but he is playing a premium position). Andrus is having a decent year with the glove, but the stick has been very weak. Whatever defense or intangibles he brings to the table are not enough to overcome a .607 OPS.

Andrus is only a year removed from his last All-Star season, one in which he posted a .349 OBP and had 180 hits, including 31 doubles. Now in his 5th year with the Rangers, Andrus is a fan-favorite. But the fact is, based on the numbers, he is having a down year. With the injury problems the Rangers have had, they will need Andrus to return to All-Star form if they are going to have a chance to win the American League West in 2013.

The offensive output from Andrus so far is way below what the Rangers expected when they gave him that contract extension, which starts in 2015 and runs through the end of the 2022 season. Fortunately, for Andrus (and for the Rangers), he is only 24 years old, so there is plenty of time to turn things around.

Brian Honea is a Dallas, Texas-based freelance writer and a lifelong follower of the Texas Rangers.

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