Could Elvis Go Gold?

Elvis Andrus, Texas' 20 year-old shortstop, is looking more and more like a Gold Glove candidate

Elvis Andrus has wasted no time in becoming a familiar face in Arlington.

Sure, he is a charismatic young guy, and he’s hitting better than anyone thought he would. Andrus’ .283 average is good, better for a 20-year-old known for his defense, and downright impressive when you consider that this is better than league-mainstays Jimmy Rollins, Troy Tulowitzki, Orlando Cabrera, Jose Reyes…and the list goes on.
But the reason Andrus is becoming so familiar is because, in the context of the baseball field, he is just about everywhere.
His .969 fielding percentage isn’t anything to write home about, but then, the kid can’t even buy a beer yet; I’ll chalk it up to rookie mistakes.
If you’re wholly unaware of why Andrus is generating some palpable excitement in North Texas right now, consider his range factor; this is a statistic designed to measure the range of a player, combining said players’ putouts and assists per nine innings.
Andrus’ range factor is a 5.37; this is tops for starters in the majors -- by a lot.
Troy Tulowitzki is second in the majors with a 4.97.
If the season ended today Andrus would own the record for a Rangers’ shortstop in this regard, topping Bert Campaneris’ mark of 5.27 in 1977. Ozzie Smith, widely regarded as the best defensive shortstop of all time, tallied his best range factor with a 5.87. (Props to T.R. Sullivan at for this tidbit.)
If you found your way over to the Rangers’ official team Web site in the past couple of days, you were likely accosted by a question on the home page: Can Andrus win a gold glove this season?
Saying yes would be a fatal case of jumping the gun, but saying no would be a case of short-sighted pessimism.
There’s no reason to think, with Texas’ defense ascending the league rankings as it is, that Andrus’ fielding percentage won’t go up as well; conversely, there’s no reason to think the kid’s range factor will go down.
So, the numbers may be on point; the rest will largely be decided by exposure, and this, with the vaguely capricious national media and hyper-coverage of today’s game, will ultimately be a byproduct of the Rangers, themselves.
If they keep winning, that is, they will command national attention for the team, Andrus (obviously) included.
There have been five players who have won the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in their rookie season; if things keep going as they are, Andrus, like Texas as a whole, will have a pretty good chance.
Nothing more and nothing less.
If Andrus does bring home the hardware in his rookie year, he will be only the second infielder in history to do so (Ken Hubbs, 1962).

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