Elvis Andrus Proving Critics Wrong On Nightly Basis

Bo ReedCorrespondent IMay 23, 2009

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 24:  Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers poses during photo day at Surprise Stadium on February 24, 2009 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

During the offseason, the Texas Rangers announced the club was moving All-Star shortstop Michael Young over to third base. The move was quickly criticized by experts, and a shocked Rangers clubhouse had to deal with a week of trade demands from the heart and soul of the team.

As Spring Training approached, the Rangers brought in future Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel to reassure an always-panicked fan base. The original plan had to be modified, as the idea of 20-year-old Elvis Andrus, who hadn't played above AA, starting at short for the Rangers was a little too much.

Clearly everyone involved had forgotten about a young catcher named Pudge Rodriguez, who made a similar jump at a young age, but that's another story for another time.

After withdrawing his trade demands, Young reported and immediately started working at third base with manager Ron Washington. Meanwhile, Andrus quietly went about his business at short with the help of Vizquel, who coincidentally was one of Andrus' favorite players growing up.

It didn't take long for all of the offseason turmoil to fade away as both Young and the Rangers began to witness the potential of Andrus. A slick fielder with a plus arm and incredible range began to show all who were fortunate enough to watch that Texas had made the right move shifting Michael over.

With Young bringing some much-needed stability to third and Elvis reaching balls that Young couldn't get to, Ian Kinsler and Chris Davis on the right side of the infield, and an already-stacked outfield, the Rangers have gone from one of the worst in defensive efficiency to fifth in the league.

The last team to make a similar jump were the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, and everyone knows how that worked out.

Of course, once questions about Andrus' defensive ability were answered, the same experts began to question whether the kid could be of any use at the dish.

Well, the rookie sensation is 36 games into his career and hitting .292 with three home runs and an on-base percentage of .331; so much for being overwhelmed at the plate.

The Rangers have made some mistakes in the past with rushing players, and most people thought they were repeating those mistakes with Andrus.

Good thing the man himself is not listening to them.

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