Elvis Andrus is a pretty good baseball player

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 02: Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers hits a two run homer in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox on September 2, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

I was perusing the FanGraphs' Rangers page, looking at the positional players, when something caught my eye on the fWAR column.

I think everyone here knows that Ian Kinsler is having a great year, and we've talked about his fWAR enough that it probably isn't any surprise that he's first on the team with a 6.6 fWAR.

Mike Napoli and Adrian Beltre are second and third, respectively, among position players* at 5.2 and 5.1, despite each missing a significant chunk of time.

*  C.J. Wilson is at 5.4 fWAR.

What surprised me, though, is that Elvis Andrus is fourth among positional players with an fWAR of 4.4 -- an impressive figure, one that puts him not only among the top Rangers, but slots him third among American League shortstops this season, and 19th among all American League position players.  

 

If you prefer bWAR to fWAR, then Elvis is dinged a little bit because he doesn't get as much credit for his baserunning, but even there, his 3.6 bWAR ranks him 24th in the American League.

I'm one of the biggest Elvis Andrus backers out there, and even I didn't expect that he'd be so high.  In my mind, I had him on pace to log a 3 fWAR season, a solid year for a 22 year old shortstop.  In reality, fWAR has him as a well above average regular, a guy having an All Star caliber season.  

What makes this particularly remarkable is how old Elvis Andrus is while doing this.  

Here's a complete list of the shortstops who have had at least a season with at least a 3.5 bWAR at age 22 or younger since WWII:

Alex Rodriguez

Cal Ripken, Jr.

Jim Fregosi

Chris Speier

Troy Tulowitzki

Hanley Ramirez

Alan Trammell

Robin Yount

Garry Templeton

Ron Hansen

Rafael Furcal

That is heady company.  

I've beaten this drum before, but players who can come into the major leagues at age 20 and hold their own tend to be special players.  Elvis turned 23 less than a month ago.  He's younger than Tanner Scheppers.  He's younger than Kasey Kiker.  He's almost five years younger than Craig Gentry.  

He's a year and half younger than A's second base prospect Jemile Weeks.  He's more than three years younger than Mark Trumbo, one of the young players the Angels are supposedly going to build around.  He's more than a year younger that Peter Bourjos.

Elvis Andrus is a really, really good player with a very bright future ahead of him.  Here's hoping that the Rangers lock him up for a long time this offseason.

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