Elvis Andrus had a disappointing season last year, but according to the excellent Rangers beat writer Evan Grant, there's some positivity in Rangers camp that he will have a bounce back year. Firstly, Andrus showed up to camp in much better physical condition. Conditioning narratives from players are stale and borderline laughable because of how often they're cited, but I think it's legitimate with Andrus. He's only 26, and it's conceivable that he faced some complacency after signing his 8 year, $120 million mega deal right before the 2013 season began. This isn't some past his prime player suddenly deciding to take his conditioning seriously to compensate for an age related decline.
Secondly, Andrus is going to be surrounded with much better players in 2015. Prince Fielder and Shin Soo Choo appear to be healthy, and Adrian Beltre is still one of the best hitters in the American League. If Andrus bats second, he will be in position to score a lot of runs with Fielder, Beltre and possibly Choo batting behind him.
Thirdly, Andrus has a new swing designed for more gap power. Evan Grant wrote,
For Andrus, the chances lie with a revamped swing designed to help him drive the ball more into the gaps. Late last season, Magadan implored Andrus to pick a swing and stay with it. Sometimes, when it was early in the count or he was ahead, Andrus would fire a little bit of a leg kick and hit with more authority. When Andrus got behind, Magadan saw a swing he described as looking like "a hockey goalie trying to deflect the puck."
"I felt like I was fighting myself the whole season," Andrus said. " It was tough."
The revamping process started in the final weeks of last season. Andrus used the small leg kick with more consistency.
And this spring, he’s been able to pick up on the leg kick where he left off at the end of last year.
"It’s been encouraging," Magadan said. "He’s moved his hands up and back, too. We’re not trying to turn him into Babe Ruth, but we think he can drive the ball more gap to gap."
"In my opinion, he should be a perennial All-Star," Magadan said. "He should be in the conversation with the best shortstops in the game. He’s got the energy, the confidence and the cockiness to take the game to the next level."
Grant added that Andrus has had four different hitting coaches since he debuted in 2009, which may have pulled him in all different directions, leading to an inconsistent swing and approach at the plate.
Shortstop is very thin, and I think Andrus is capable of providing good value for where he's being drafted. Andrus' Yahoo ADP is 126, and in standard leagues, I like the value. In leagues that use OPS, like one of my leagues, downgrade him slightly because his OPS will probably be below average.
I think a line like this is realistic for Andrus in 2015: .270 AVG, 90 R, 60 RBI, 30 SB, 4 HR, .690 OPS.