Twins Grab Andrus In Rule V Draft

Twins gained a bat with potential.

The Minnesota Twins got athletic outfielder/first baseman Erold Andrus from the New York Yankees in the AAA phase of Thursday's Rule V Draft. Andrus, who was recently ranked #28 among the Yankees' top 50 Prospects, is a high-ceiling talent that cost the Twins a grand total of $12,000. Here's a scouting report on Erold Andrus.

>Vital Statistics:
Name: Erold Andrus
Position: Outfield/First Base
DOB: July 16, 1984
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 170
Bats:: Both
Throws: Left

The Yankees signed Erold Andrus as an international free agent out of Venezuela back in July of 2000 as an athletic switch-hitting outfielder with the very good speed and power potential. He displayed a good eye at the plate with developing gap power at the lower levels until his breakout season with the Battle Creek Yankees in 2004 when he hit .291 with 34 doubles, 14 stolen bases, and 12 home runs, tripling his previous career total.

"Right now I'm a line drive hitter that hits the ball in the gaps," Andrus told PinstripesPlus.com in an earlier interview. "Sometimes I hit for power. I'm a switch-hitter that just tries to put the ball into play. The more you put the ball into play, the more chances you have to get on base. So that's what I am trying to do. I want to get a good pitch to hit and put good wood on the ball."

Andrus had a disappointing season with the Tampa Yankees in 2005, hitting just .241, which was 45 points lower than his previous career low and a full 53 points lower than his career .291 batting average entering the year. With the Rule V Draft in 2005, his worst season a professional came at the worst possible time and the Yankees left him exposed, only placing him on the AA roster.

With Andrus perhaps needing another year of seasoning at the high-A level in 2006, and with a glutton of outfield prospects at the lower levels, the Yankees simply didn't have the room to protect him despite the overall potential. The Yankees even toyed with the idea of moving Andrus to first base, but with the impending move of Eric Duncan to that position next season, Andrus became a victim of a numbers crunch in the Yankees' organization.

"I'm getting comfortable at first base," Andrus told us of his transition to another position. "I am working hard over there too whenever they play me there. I don't care where I play. I just want to play in the Major Leagues. Whether it is first base, left field, center field, right field, it doesn't matter. I just want to play in the Majors."

When Andrus bats left-handed, some observers have likened him to a developing Garrett Anderson as a hitter with good gap power, solid contact hitting ability, and the ability to launch a few home runs.

"I'm kind of like him," the 21-year old outfielder said of the comparisons to Garrett Anderson. "We have the same style. [Like him] I play hard all the time. I hustle all the time. For me right now, I'm like him."

A better comparison for Andrus, one that not only fits him to a tee but one that is close to the hearts of Yankee fans, is Bernie Williams. They're games are not only similar in production, in the fact they are both switch hitters, their approach at the plate, and defensively, but they both even look alike in the face.

"I'm more of a Bernie Williams type of hitter," Andrus told us. "Sometimes when a pitchers throws me a pitch I like, I can hit it out of the park. Home runs are great, but I want to be more like him [Bernie Williams]. I want to be a clutch hitter. The fans come to see the guys that are clutch hitters, like him and Derek Jeter. (Laughing) They also pay them well to be clutch hitters. In the right moment, they swing and get the hits when the team needs them. That's all I want to be. Hitting home runs would be great, but I just want to hit the ball in the clutch more than anything."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2005

Tampa

.241

461

24

5

49

53

5

42

88

.311

.334

2004

Battle Creek

.291

553

34

12

74

83

14

38

86

.338

.421

2003

Battle Creek

.286

140

5

1

6

20

1

6

20

.315

.357

2003

Gulf Coast

.333

21

2

0

6

3

0

2

4

.400

.524

2002

Gulf Coast

.294

204

13

2

27

30

1

14

23

.351

.407



Batting and Power. Still very early in his development, the comparisons to a young Bernie Williams are quite accurate. Like Williams, Andrus gets good loft on the ball from the left-side of the plate. Like Williams, Andrus doesn't project to be a plus power hitter at the Major League level, but could produce good numbers with a level and consistent swing. As disappointing as Andrus' year was in 2005, he still put up very good numbers hitting with two outs, showing the type of clutch hitting found in the likes of Bernie Williams. His 2005 season was an aberration. Andrus projects to be a .290+ hitter with 20 home run power in his prime.

Base running and Speed. Where the comparison to Bernie Williams falls short is in the speed department. Andrus has decent speed, but doesn't project to be a major impact on the base paths. What he lacks in overall speed his makes up in natural athleticism. He has the potential to annually steal around 10 bases.

Defense. Erold Andrus, a natural athlete, can make the highlight reel defensive plays in the outfield and has shown a propensity to be able to pick balls out of the dirt at first base. He gets a good jump on balls in the outfield and takes smart routes. Like Bernie Williams, Andrus' arm is below average, a big reason why the Yankees considered moving Andrus to first base. Still, with his athletic ability, he is better defensive outfielder than he is a first baseman.

Projection. Andrus ceiling, talent-wise, is that of Bernie Williams. He's solid in every aspect of the game, with the exception of his arm strength. He could develop into a solid outfield prospect and projects to be starting outfielder at the Major League level someday. It will all depend on the development of his offensive game however. He is closer to the player that played with Battle Creek in 2004 than he was with the Tampa Yankees in 2005. The Twins could have gotten a real sleeper in the form of Erold Andrus.

ETA. 2009. The Twins' farm system could use another outfield/first baseman prospect. In the Yankees' farm system, he would have projected to make his Major League debut in 2009, when he'll begin the season that year at 24-years old. Chances are he'll need more time at the high-A level in 2006. If that happens, the safe bet is 2009. If the Twins push him and challenge him in AA next season, 2008 is certainly not out of the question.

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