23-year old righty swinging shortstop Elvis Andrus has improved in each of his three years in the majors for the Rangers. They hope that continues in 2012. Andrus played in 150 games for the Rangers last year and he was 164 of 587 (.279 avg, .708 OPS) with 96 runs scored, 5 homers, 60 RBIs and 37 stolen bases. He has now played in 443 games in his first three years with the Rangers and he is 448 of 1,655 (.271 avg, .683 OPS) with 256 runs scored, 11 homers, 135 RBIs and 102 stolen bases. Andrus had 25 errors in 147 games at SS for the Rangers while showing really good range. He gets to a lot of balls that other SS only dream about getting to. Look for Andrus to maybe have a true breakout year in 2012.
27-year old switch-hitting Luis Hernandez will be competing for the utility infielder job this spring and his natural position is SS. Hernandez played in 121 games in AAA-ball for the Mets last year and he was 97 of 404 (.240 avg, .612 OPS) with 43 runs scored, 6 homers, 54 RBIs and 7 stolen bases. He last played in 2010 with the Mets. He has played in 120 games in his first four years with the Mets and he is 65 for 265 (.245 avg, .584 OPS) with 197 runs scored, 18 homers, 183 RBIs and 27 stolen bases. Hernandez can also handle 2B pretty adeptly.
24-year old switch-hitting Yangervis Solarte is trying to break into the majors this year. He played in 121 games in AA-ball last year and he was 151 of 459 (.329 avg, .834 OPS) with 64 runs scored, 7 homers, 49 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. Solarte has now played in 409 games in his first six years in the minors and he is 431 of 1,495 (.288 avg, .732 OPS) with 197 runs scored, 18 homers, 183 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.
28-year old Alberto Gonzalez is also in the mix at SS. He played in 30 games for the Padres at SS last year and he had 1 error while showing pretty good range.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE SS IN 2012: B+