Fantasy Baseball 2018: Is Rangers Elvis Andrus being over valued?

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus had his best power season in his career. Should we expect another season like this in 2018?

The Texas Rangers have one of the older teams entering the 2018 season. There is still value to be found on that team, though. One of those players has been undervalued for the last couple of seasons is shortstop Elvis Andrus. As the top shortstop at the end of the season, what should our expectations be?

Andrus was a 15th-round pick in ESPN leagues, 141.5 ADP. Other hitters drafted around him were Odubel Herrera, Brad Miller and Adrian Gonzalez. The Andrus owner definitely got the best pick in that round.

Andrus finished No. 1 on the Player Rater, over a full point ahead of Trea Turner, who missed a big chunk of the season. He hit a career-high 20 home runs and 88 RBI in 158 games. He combined that with 25 steals in 35 attempts and a .297/.337/.471 line.

He did strike out 101 times, the first time he’s reached that plateau in his career. His 38 walks were also a career low. It makes sense considering he had a career-high swing rate at 47.2 percent and swinging strike rate of 8.5 percent.

In his previous four seasons, Andrus hit a combined 21 home runs, 239 RBI and .273 average. Even with single-digit home runs, he provided owners with a good batting average and 25+ steals.  As a top-10 ranked shortstop, Andrus was getting drafted in the late teens.

But this season will be different. Andrus is coming off his first 20-home run and 80+ RBI season. With a track record of below 10 home runs, can we realistically expect another season like 2017 again?

The easier, and right, answer is no. I would need to see another two or three more seasons like it before I can make those projections. However, I won’t project a seven home run season either. I think he can hit 12-13 homers, 75 RBI and a .277 average.

When you look at the other shortstops, Andrus ranks up there in most of the offensive categories. Only one had a higher batting average, Jean Segura. Eight had more home runs, one had more steals and one had more RBI.

No one expected this kind of season from Andrus, and rightfully so. Now, fantasy baseball experts around the industry skyrocketed him up the rankings. He is ranked as a top-five shortstop on most sites and top-50 overall.

If he is going to sacrifice contact for power, like Andrus seemed to have done in 2017, I can’t rank him that high. There are plenty of 20-home run hitters, 117 to be exact. Yet, there were only 25 .300 hitters. With power available in all parts of the draft, those hitters don’t get that much of a boost in my rankings.

Andrus’ 2018 value will be elevated by his speed. There were just nine 20 HR/20 SB hitters. If Andrus does that again, I will gladly eat my words and project him correctly for 2019. Until then, I have to keep him out of my top-five shortstops and top-50 overall.