Elvis Andrus – 2010 Topps Opening Day

February 7, 2011

Pickin’ & Grinnin’

When I was a kid, I didn’t take Buck Owens or Roy Clark seriously. I was first introduced to them on Hee-Haw. It wasn’t until later when I read about the influence they had on several artists (notably Owens on Dwight Yoakam and Gram Parsons) that I realized how great they were.

I also didn’t take Robin Yount seriously when I was in elementary school. I didn’t take Ozzie Smith, or Omar Vizquel seriously either when they first started. To me, they were just another slappy shortstop – a Roger Metzger, Darrell Chaney, Felix Fermin type.

But then, when they start to shine, it hits you: WOW! What did I miss?

Andrus is one of those players, except I’m not missing him.

I knew Yount was a kid, but I didn’t think about how hard it was for a teenager to play in the majors.

I thought Vizquel was just like Rafael Belliard. No, really. What I didn’t (or couldn’t) see was his defense in Seattle.

I thought the Cards got jobbed when they traded Garry (“If I Ain’t Startin’, I Ain’t Departin’) Templeton. I thought it was a rash move. Yes, at age 15 I was a better GM than Whitey Herzog. (Yeah…)

(Sidebar: Whitey Herzog was a trading machine. There was this trade, which actually turned out to be Templeton, Lezcano and DeLeon for Smith, Mura and Olmstead. Earlier, he engineered a three-way deal with Cleveland and Philly that brought him Lonnie Smith and all he gave up were Sorenson and Silvio Martinez. Then there was Dec. 8-12, 1980 which saw him give up, basically: Kennedy, Urrea, Olmstead (him again), Littlefield (he of the “Littlefield effect”), Seaman, Phillips, Swisher, Durham, Reitz, Waller, Simmons and Vuckovich for Shirley, Tenace, Geren, Sutter, Green, LaPoint, Lezcano and Sorenson.)

So, I’m not going to make the same mistake with Andrus.

Yes, I think he’s a bit over-hyped as a current star. His defensive metrics are average, and his OPS+ has been below 100 each season. His SLG went way down this past year, and that’s a concern.

But, he’ll only be 22 this season. He can run, he’s got on base skills and he’s got potential to grow.

I’ll be watching…



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