One of the running jokes here on LSB last season was “Matt Davidson, Elite Hitter.” This stemmed from Chris Woodward saying late last spring, when Davidson was sent down, that Davidson was “close to being an elite guy.”
Davidson, of course, did not become an elite guy, or even make it onto the Rangers’ major league roster, and so it was treated as an oddity, a weird affinity that Woodward had for Davidson that had no real basis in reality, or just an extreme exaggeration that Woodward was making while trying to soften the blow of sending a player down.
What we now know, though, is that “elite” is kind of a Chris Woodward catchphrase — it is is go-to word when he is praising a player.
So here, for your edification, is a no-doubt incomplete list of the various people and things who have been the subject of Chris Woodward’s favorite word...and please note that this is only where there’s a direct quote or a direct attribution to Woodward in the article:
In Levi Weaver’s February 20, 2020, story (where Levi acknowledges Woodward’s frequent use of the word), both Demarcus Evans’ stuff (“I already knew that the stuff was elite”) and Joe Barlow (“I think he could be pretty elite as well”).
In Chris Halicke’s February 19, 2020, story, both Demarcus Evans’ stuff (“he’s got elite stuff”, twice) and the characteristic of his pitches (“[t]he characteristics of his pitches are elite”).
In Evan Grant’s February 15, 2020, story, Jose Leclerc’s makeup and Jose Leclerc generally as a pitcher (“he’s an elite pitcher with elite makeup”).
In Evan Grant’s February 4, 2020, story, Jose Leclerc as a reliever (“I don’t think he has anything to prove as a good, elite reliever”)
In Evan Grant’s March 6, 2019, story, Jose Leclerc’s changeup and his fastball (“[his changeup is] an elite pitch, and he has an elite fastball to go with it”).
On the Ben & Skin Show in August, 2019, Brock Burke’s stuff (“[y]ou look at his stuff...its pretty elite”).
In Jeff Wilson’s April 24, 2019, story, Taylor Hearn’s offspeed stuff (“[h]is secondary stuff, when he throws it with conviction, he’s got elite stuff”).
On 105.3 the Fan in July, 2019, unidentified players (“[y]ou see teams that have elite defenders that are really range-y”).
In Mike Leslie’s February 17, 2020, story, the shortstop position (“[Elvis Andrus is playing] an elite position”).
In Jeff Wilson’s September 17, 2019, story, a hypothetical free agent pitcher (“[a]n elite starting pitcher is valuable, there’s no question”).
In Sam Blum’s March 2, 2020, story, Taylor Guerrieri’s curveball (“[i]ts the most elite curveball in the game”).
In Evan Grant’s March 6, 2020, story, Taylor Guerrieri’s curveball again (“[h]e’s got an elite pitch, and I told him that”).
In Sam Blum’s March 3, 2020, story, unnamed pitchers (“[t]here’s been guys that have elite stuff and they’re really, really good for a month or two, and then they break down”).
In Joel Sherman’s March 4, 2020, story, Corey Kluber as a person (“[f]or an elite man to nevertheless say he has a large amount to confirm, that is rather substantial”).
In Mike Leslie’s February 19, 2020, story, Corey Kluber as a pitcher (“[Kluber wants to prove wrong] the one person who says he’s not gonna be an elite pitcher still”)
In T.R. Sullivan’s March 5, 2020, notes column, both Jonathan Hernandez’s stuff (“[a]ny time you are in the upper 90s, its elite”) and Eli White’s center field range (“[h]e’s got elite capability with his ability to run down balls”).
In T.R. Sullivan’s March 3, 2020, story, Eli White’s defense in center field (Manager Chris Woodward said White has the athleticism to be an elite defensive center fielder).
In Levi Weaver’s February 19, 2020 story, Eli White as a center fielder (“I think he can be an elite center fielder” and “he could actually be an elite center fielder”).
In Dave Sessions’ February 26, 2020, story, Danny Santana as a center fielder (“[a]ll the characteristics are there of an elite center fielder”).
In T.R. Sullivan’s March 8, 2020, story, Isiah Kiner-Falefa as a defender (“I look at him as an elite defender, especially at third base”).
In Evan Grant’s June 20, 2020, story, various qualities a starting pitcher needs (“[y]ou have to be at an elite level of execution and elite level of stuff and an elite level of belief you can get guys out”).
In Darien Clark’s October 23, 2019, story, Hunter Pence as a teammate (“he’s got a long track record of being an elite teammate”).
On the other hand, Chris Woodward doesn’t think everything is elite...
In Evan Grant’s August 22, 2019, story, Ariel Jurado’s offspeed stuff is not (“he doesn’t have elite offspeed stuff”).