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February 21, 2005

by Fabian

Erold Andrus, 20, OF-1B

I first took notice of Erold Andrus during the ’03 minor league season. Already possessing Rudy Guillen on its roster, that Battle Creek team was suddenly given another supposedly promising outfield talent a little ways into the summer. Andrus, who was one seasonal year younger than Guillen and a switch hitter as opposed to the right handed hitting Guillen, had what I deemed to be a better professional resume to that point. Considering that some of Guillen’s hype had included Vlad comparisons I thought if Andrus was able to stick with the team he could become a very interesting prospect. However, due to injury, that was not meant to be.

When ’04 began, Andrus was once again in the Battle Creek outfield, this time I felt he was playing second fiddle to Melky Cabrera. Andrus proceeded to begin the year very slowly as his offense consisted solely of the occasional double. About midway through the year he finally caught fire and tons of singles began falling for him and he even drove some balls over the fence. All told, he had a solid campaign for an age-19 CF; however, I’m not very excited about his prospects for the future.

The first knock against Andrus is that the Yankees organization feels the most interesting aspect of his player profile is his power potential and in order to give him as much room as possible to fulfill that potential, Erold Andrus will be manning 1B in ’05. That puts an immediate dent in his stock since the offensive responsibilities of a 1B are much greater than those of a CF. My second problem with Andrus going forward is that I feel his overall ’04 stats look better than they should have been, and that’s not saying much. As previously noted, Andrus had many more singles falling in during the second half of the season and, in fact, if one works under the principle that no “normal” player should have a BABIP very far north or south of .300 it becomes evident that Andrus, with a .327 BABIP, was the recipient of much luck in his second half hot streak to boost his numbers to respectability.

The most positive aspects of Andrus’ offensive game are that he is solid on the base paths, 14 SB in 19 attempts, and is a switch hitter who at this point seems to be able to hit from both sides as his ‘04 performance was almost the same whether facing right or left handed pitching. Andrus’ solid performance on the base paths combined with him grounding into only 10 double plays despite not being a hitter that lofts the ball a ton gives me reason for pause when seeing what the Yankees are doing to him. His speed indicators are good and I haven’t heard any reports that point to his OF defense saying the opposite of this, so why move him? It would appear the organization is supremely confident in its feelings of increased power.

Erold Andrus had a solid ’04 campaign and was no doubt one of the system’s hottest prospects down the stretch, but I think he is primed for an ’05 letdown of Robinson Cano in ’03 proportions. The only difference will be that it’s coming from a 1B and since those guys need to hit, my general feeling about him is not a good one.

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