Elvis Leaves | Baseball FanGraphs

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Elvis Andrews It didn’t come to Chicago as a marquee attraction. It was not a final business acquisition; Instead, A released him on August 17, and was signed by the White Sox two days later. At the time, I got noticed for a completely unrelated reason: Andrus had an option with A that was close to maturity, an option that would pay him $15 million next year. Meanwhile, the White Sox had serious problems with depth; with Tim Anderson And the Yuri Garcia Both in IL, they lacked intermediaries, and Andrus was the only way to add someone from outside the organization.

It was, in hindsight, a fluke. The White Sox was in dire need of the freely available proficiency. If their string of injuries had occurred three weeks ago, they would have had any number of options in the trade market. Given the timing, it was Andros or nothing. If he had only played as he played in Auckland, he would have been an excellent substitute. Instead, he was the sixth best offensive player in baseball.

This is, to put it mildly, unexpected. From 2018 to 21, Andrus put in a total of 74 wRC+, scoring .25/.302/.360. Plus defending at shortstop made him at least playable, but it looked like his best offensive days were behind him. His production in Auckland this year was itself a revival. While the league’s attacking has decreased overall this year, Andrus pulled off a little more power than usual while at the base with his semi-middle steady clip.

On Sox, Andrus hit .314/.357/.517. He’s made six home runs in just 126 games, nearly four times the average of his previous career. That’s even more impressive considering he’s played most of his career at the cheery old Rangers Stadium. Where in the world did this come from?

In any small sample of this size, it is accepted that part of the answer is randomness. Nobody is as good quality as they are in their best months, and make no mistake, this is Andrus at its best. He’s had nearly five stretches this hot throughout his major league career, so it’s not like he’s never delivered like this before, but it’s clearly not a real new talent level or anything. However, it’s worth looking at what he’s doing right, because it’s fun to talk about Andros being good and because we might be learning something.

We can quickly rule out a few things. Andrus hasn’t changed his approach to the plate in any significant way. swings at a fairly constant rate from the first throw, the first throw in the hit zone, fast balls, broken balls, non-fast courts, boundary courts; You name it, its swing rate is unchanged, with a near metronomic symmetry. He swings a lot in general, but not so much that you say “Wow, this guy has changed.” The technical name for this following chart is “much of nothing”:

swing changes? not exactly

Team Z-swing heart swing% shadow swing % first pitch swing % Swing FB% Secondary swing ratio
Auckland 62.2% 65.3% 52.1% 25.9% 45.7% 44.2%
Chicago 62.6% 65.5% 52.4% 27.8% 46.9% 45.8%

Closer examination of his swing reveals a similar lack of change. You can play at home if you wish. To make everything as similar as possible, I chose two pitches against the same bowler in the same park. This is Andrus in Zone A, taking a minor-court breakout early in the count on the inner third of the board:

Now here he is on the White Sox, taking a penetration into the secondary court early in the count on the inner third of the board:

You may have been a better investigator than me, but I don’t see any meaningful differences. Andrus’ swing is beautiful, almost hypnotic at times, but he hasn’t fixed it since he joined the White Sox. which seems reasonable to me; He was doing really well in Auckland this year. Why change something that works?

If he made any swing changes, they came in with two strokes per count. In Auckland he generally dropped his leg kick in two strokes, but returned it in full numbers unless he was facing a high-speed pitcher – stop dylan, to give one example. In Chicago, he dropped his leg kick with two strokes, returning it in smaller numbers more frequently. If you think that difference is too small, I’m with you. Andrus had a 148 wRC+ on full counts with Oakland, and he has a mark of 221 in Chicago, thanks in large part to his 0.625 BABIP. I don’t think the swing changes can explain his recent good form.

But even if he didn’t change the way he swung, he changed the way he was affected by the ball. When he hits the ball in the air with Chicago, he hits it hard (95 mph or more, to be exact) 39.6% of the time. This compares to 29.4% in Auckland. It’s not a huge sample, and it’s just over the standard deviation of difference, so it might not be something – but it’s at least somewhere to refer to.

Meanwhile, he was hitting fewer flyballs overall. That’s because it replaced them with line engines, and it’s always a nice switch. It’s not a particularly repeatable switch in most cases, but Andrus’s 23.7% streak playback rate with White Sox isn’t ridiculous; He’s just been hitting quite a few in the A this year.

Even if you give him full credit for all of his tennis changes, it’s hard to believe Andrus would continue to produce at this rate. It runs the 20% HR/FB mark, for example, with a career mark in the middle of the single digits. The truism that anyone in baseball can do anything for a month isn’t always true in reality, but it certainly applies here: I think Andros is a strong player, but I don’t think home runs is here to stay, and you probably won’t continue to hit a lot of streak drives. .

This makes it a slightly above average hitter in my estimation, which is still great. How many good hitters with short range defense can you add to your squad at no cost in the middle of a supplement hunt? The White Sox staged a coup by adding him, essentially undoing Tim Anderson’s injury by seamlessly replacing his production line-up.

When Anderson returns, Sox will face a difficult decision—but not that hard. In theory, they would have to choose between playing one of their old stars and playing the best hitter currently. Doing excercise, Romy Gonzalez He’s starting from second base now, and I’m pretty sure Andrus can handle second place, for example Tria Turner in 2021. They still face a bull run to reach the playoffs, but at least they won’t have to do that while leaving a good hitter off the bench.

Andros will be a free agent after this season, and I hope he gets a deal that pleases her. Sure, they want to see what they have in it Nick Allen, but very clearly Person A is cutting it to avoid any chance of initiating his vesting option. It was clearly not a performance. Although he left the team a month ago, he is still one of the top three hitters of the war this season. This is a corrupt move, and you could end up in front of an arbitrator. It could easily have been the last we heard about Andrus this season.

Instead, he went from playing for a team in the process of blowing himself up to one in the midst of a playoff chase, and being the elites of the city to boot. It would be unscientific for me to attribute his last form to the baseball gods pointing at some kind of point. But whether or not that is the reason (it isn’t), I can’t help but smile every time I see Andros rushing to his playoff-hoping teammates. Whatever happens, it’s an exhilarating story and a rare glimmer of hope for a White Sox team that has dealt with a string of unfortunate injuries and headwinds throughout the year.