Scout's View: Elvis Andrus
One of the most exciting shortstops in the minors, Andrus struggled with the bat at high Class A Myrtle Beach this season. The starting shortstop for the World team in this year's Futures Game, the 18-year-old Venezuelan makes everything look easy defensively. He's got soft hands, impressive range to both sides and above-average arm strength. But questions linger about the bat. Through 385 at-bats with Myrtle Beach before being traded to the Rangers, Andrus was hitting .244/.330/.335 with 24 extra-base hits (including three homers, which ties a career high).Even though he is polished on defense, Andrus is still raw with the bat, on the bases and understanding certain game situations.We caught up with an American League scout not long before Andrus was traded to the Rangers to get the scout's impressions on Andrus and his future potential both offensively and defensively:
"I'm not sure if there's a better defensive shortstop in the minor leagues right now," the scout said. "He's got explosive first-step quickness to his right or left, incredibly soft hands—balls just somehow find their way into his glove—but I'm not completely sold on the arm strength.
"In this league right now, (Potomac shortstop Ian) Desmond has a better arm, and he can go get it. Andrus can go get anything, but sometimes when he does, he has a hard time setting his feet to make his arm work. But this guy makes everything look easy—like everything just comes naturally.
"I think there's still something in the bat as he grows into himself and understands who he is and works to his strengths. I don't think there will ever be a lot of power, but he could be a guy who runs into 10 balls a year and saves you a ton of runs. That's pretty good upside.
"He's got a line-drive stroke, but his plate discipline isn't great. He'll swing at bad breaking balls early in the count, but can use the whole field and turn on that inside fastball every now and then. He's still really raw in a lot of phases of his game, but when you watch him make some of the plays he makes, you know he's special.
"Probably the best thing for him would be to repeat this level again next year. The talent level is down (in the Carolina League) now, but it's still a challenge when you're facing the same pitchers in an eight-team league regardless of the stuff. He's an 18-year-old Venezuelan kid really that just plays to his strengths with the glove. Put it in perspective--he just graduated from high school and he's here in high A. He just needs to find out who he is. It's pretty impressive any way you look at it."