Shortstop is a Little Scary
This is the downer section of the Oakland A’s spring training recap.
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As I said earlier, spring training numbers don’t mean a lot, but it’s not hard to feel uneasy about Elvis Andrus. While most of the prospective 26 man roster infielders put up good to respectable numbers, Andrus didn’t hit over .200. The aging shortstop saw a sharp decline in 2020, both defensively and offensively, and he didn’t show a lot this spring to put A’s fans’ minds at ease.
The reasons to not freak out? Andrus has played in the majors since he was 20 and was a significant contributor to a team that made the World Series at 21. The man is about as veteran-y as a veteran can get. Andrus is no stranger to getting himself ready for a season and knows what to do to get in shape, and he’s earned some forgiveness considering how successful his career has been so far.
It’s also easy to forget that he is only 32 years old. No spring chicken, yet not ancient either. There is a chance that less playing time and a few tweaks bring some life back into his bat.
If Andrus shows that he can’t maintain the starting shortstop role, 22-year-old prospect Nick Allen can get called up to the show mid-season. As a non-roster invitee this spring, Allen’s offense was as advertised: scrappy plate approach with not a lot of pop. Allen’s primary tool is his defense, which could reach Gold Glove level. With Allen alongside Matt Chapman, it’s hard to imagine many ground balls getting through the left side of the infield.
The Oakland A’s saw many good performances this spring, and the reasons for A’s fans to be excited are plentiful. The AL West division will be pretty tight this year, but the green and gold should be right in the middle of the mix.