Texas Ranger Elvis Andrus’ Growth and Josh Hamilton’s Historic Night

About a month ago I wrote a story about how I thought Michael Young of the Texas Rangers might be better suited for the 2nd spot in the batting order instead of Elvis Andrus, you can read that here.  Apparently Elvis reads SportDFW.com and my piece about why I thought he would be better suited lower in the lineup, and used that as fuel for the absolute tear he’s on right now.  OK, I guess Elvis might not have read what I wrote, but he is in fact playing the best baseball of his career over the last few weeks and if he continues to hit like this it will add another dangerous piece to the Rangers lineup.

May 7, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) at bat in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Rangers defeated the Orioles 14 - 3. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

One of the reasons I love watching the Rangers play the past few years is seeing Elvis Andrus do what he does in the field and on the base pads, and become an all-star caliber shortstop at such a young age. The one thing that people have always wondered about with Elvis is whether he would ever be able to become an impact hitter or if his batting average would sit in the .260-.270 range the rest of his career. Its hard to remember that Elvis is still such a young player, and he’s still developing as a hitter, but I have always believed that he could develop more power and plate discipline because of flashes that I’ve seen at the plate.

Over the past 8 games, Elvis Andrus is hitting .471 (16-34) and that has taken his batting average up all the way from .256 to where he is now 9th in the AL in batting. One thing that Elvis is continuing to improve on is waiting for the right pitch and going with it; 29 of his 37 hits this season went up the middle or to the opposite field.  Michael Young is one of the best professional hitters in baseball; one thing he excels at is taking the ball the other way when he has to, which is something the young Elvis appears to be learning.  Elvis was also on base for all 4 of Josh Hamilton’s home runs during tuesday nights 10-3 win over the Orioles. Now anyone can go on a hot streak, but in his 4th season we can only hope that Elvis is figuring out how to hit at the Major League level; if he can do that, his potential is endless.

Josh Hamilton

May 10, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Texas Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton (32) hits a two-run home run in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

 

In case you’ve been away from all sports media within the last few days, Josh Hamilton had the best night by a hitter in American League history Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles.  Hamilton went 5-5 at the plate with a double, 4 homers, 8 RBI, 18 total bases and 4 runs, making him only the 16th player in MLB history with 4 homers in a game and breaking the American League record for total bases.

I had the privilege of watching Hami’s historic night Tuesday and I was amazed by the show that he put on, and the fact that even the opposing teams fans gave him a standing ovation after his 4th home run.  I was also amazed that Orioles manager Buck Showalter continued to pitch to Hami after he hit 2 home runs and nearly took a 5th inning double out of the park as well, one that would have put him in a league of his own with 5 homers if it would have went out.  Hamilton leads the league in home runs with 14 even after missing a few games with a back injury, and is making a lot of people bring up the possibility of winning the triple crown (leading the league in Home Runs, RBI’s, & batting average) for the first time since 1967.

I brought up Hamilton’s contract in my first story for this website and received a lot of reaction from fans about if they would choose to sign him to a long term deal, his price has to have gone up since the begining of the season even with the injury scare and its been reported  that it will cost the Rangers $20 million for 5 years to get the deal done.  At any rate Hamilton is a special talent and will be making plenty of money this off-season whether it be in Texas or somewhere else.

 

Upcoming Games

May 5, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson (33) pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays during the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

The Rangers face the Angels for the first time this season starting a 3 game series tonight in Arlington, the first game features Yu Darvish against former Rangers C.J. Wilson in what is sure to be a fun game.  The Rangers decided not to sign C.J. after last season and instead gave that money to a younger and unproven Darvish.  Darvish  has been impressive through 6 starts, going 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA.  After the Angels series the Rangers have some soft games in the schedule playing 2 games against the Kansas City Royals & Oakland A’s before hitting the road to play the Battle for the Silver Boot in Houston.

What do you think about Elvis’ play lately? Do you see it continuing? How much would you pay to keep Hamilton around? How do you see the Angels series going?

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Topics: AL West, Baltimore Orioles, C.J. Wilson, Elvis Andrus, Houston Astros, Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, MLB, MLB Record, Texas Rangers, Yu Darvish

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  • Dallas3026

    I didn’t know the Baltimore fans gave him an ovation – thats pretty classy.

    • Jbrumit

      @Dallas3026 It was a very cool gesture

  • RangerFan4Life

    I’ll be at the game tonight and I’m interested to see how the Rangers fans treat C.J.  I won’t boo him but I know at lot of fans will.  I don’t think the Rangers gave him any reason to stay.  At any rate, it will be a great series and I think Texas will continue to dominate.  This lineup is unstoppable!

    • Jbrumit

       @RangerFan4Life I hope they dominate as well, I think its ignorant to boo C.J. as you said the Rangers didn’t give him much of a chance to re-sign with us.  I think it will be a mixture of boo’s and cheers as he did so much for this team during his tenure.

      • delta73

         @Jbrumit I will never boo CJ for leaving Texas. I will, however, boo CJ for being a complete and utter asshole. Tweeting the phone number of an ex-teammate is completely unethical and goes far beyond the “prank” territory. His incessant whining about the Rangers “stringing him along” during the off season was really just an annoying attempt at increasing the hype of the rivalry. When he stops being a complete tool, I’ll stop booing him.

        • Jbrumit

           @delta73 I almost forgot about him tweeting that number, which is a complete douche move so I could see booing him for that.  I think he’s wrong about the Rangers “stringing him along” during the off-season, I don’t think they ever intended to bring him back no matter what the price because of his playoff struggles and attitude.

        • Dallas3026

           @Jbrumit  I had no idea that Wilson had done that.  I am not exactly knowledgeable about baseball.  My instincts tell me that booing a player is just not classy, but yet, surely some players act in such an unacceptable way that they should be booed.

    • Dallas3026

       @RangerFan4Life Hopefully the Texas fans remember the example of the Oriole’s fans and remain respectful.

  • GhostOfRubenSierra

    Perhaps Elvis read my comment that he is, in fact, the perfect 2 hitter, and is embracing the role?  My newest, and perhaps only real issue with Mr. Andrus… “run to first base dammit!”  Quite possibly the die hard attitude of the Rusty Greer type ballplayer is dead, as I routinely see Andrus, Kinsler, and most of the lineup dog it to first on a ground ball.  Only the “something to prove” Craig Gentry busts his butt on every ground out.  Andrus has the speed to beat out more infield hits then he does, but alas, I supposed that is just nit-picking.
     
    Hamilton is indeed in “Hulk-Mode” (A full 3 levels higher than the proverbial ‘beast mode’) and it is a treat to see him play this well.  Allways the skeptic, it would have been nice for him to produce any kind of decent at bat in the first 7 innings of Thursday’s double header game.  As the most “feared” player in the game right now, a 150 game pace of 65 walks is pretty dismal.  A hit or a walk in 3 useless at bats could have meant that he batted as the tying run in the bottom of the 9th of a 6 – 5 loss.  Monster Homeruns are fantastic, but the little things add up too.
     
    In response to the CJ comments, he is the ultimate “boo-able” player.  Did he pitch relatively well for the Rangers?  Sure.  But he also refused to every embrace the what makes this team great.  Wilson pitched for himself, and not the team.  He wanted wins and glory, evidence by the fact that he never took accountability for his struggles.  “Bad hops” or “bad luck” were always to blame when he lost.  He showed no heart, completely not showing up in the playoffs.  And in the most pivotal offseason of his career, he was unburdened by the recent World Series loss, as he had far too many breakdancing and yoga classes to attend.  For the grand finale, he signs with the Ranger’s biggest inner division rival, not unprescedented but definitely an eye roller. 
     
    “BOO CJ WILSON!”  Oh, and thanks for the 1/3 inning gem last night.  Amazing that Darvish had the heart and conviction to stay focused and ready and return to that game, and you didn’t.  Seems like we made the right choice after all.

    • Jbrumit

       @GhostOfRubenSierra I get the points of why C.J. should be boo’d and agree with most of them as well.  Its sports and going to your biggest rival isn’t going to make the fan base like you any more, I don’t think I would boo C.J. but to each his own.

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