Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford had an offensive breakout year in his age 28 season, while Elvis Andrus of the Rangers slid a bit across the board last season.
How will the two fare in 2016?
Brandon Crawford vs Elvis Andrus
I get the hesitation to believe in Crawford’s breakout. Mostly known for his excellent defense at shortstop, the 29-year-old established new career-highs with 21 home runs and 84 RBI last season. He had never hit more than 10 home runs in a season before, so this feels like an obvious regression situation.
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While I’d feel better forecasting another 20-homer season if he hit the ball in the air more often and played in a hitter-friendly home park, keep in mind that he was ninth in the majors last season in average fly ball distance. It’s hard to discount that.
He also made some encouraging strides against right-handed pitching. Even if Crawford settles somewhere around 15 home runs in 2016, he has a chance to be one of the top fantasy shortstops.
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Speaking of hitting the ball in the air more often, that’s what we saw from Andrus last season, but the difference here is that it resulted in just seven home runs and another decrease in his batting average and on-base percentage. Andrus has reached 21 stolen bases in each of his seven seasons in the majors, but it’s hard to see much upside otherwise, especially since he no longer hits near the top of the Rangers’ lineup.
I’ll go with the guy who has some momentum coming into 2016. - D.J. Short