March 6, 2012; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (67) hits a ground ball in the third inning of the game against the Washington Nationals at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
He has first-class athleticism with an outstanding throwing arm, slightly above-average running speed, and an excellent combination of quickness, range, and instincts at shortstop. He's dramatically improved his fielding reliability this year, making just four errors in 43 games this season. Combine the lower error rate with his range and arm strength, and you have a superior defensive player. He's also greatly improved his baserunning and will be a threat on the bases.
The main question for Simmons pre-season was his bat. Although he made good contact last season in High-A, he was impatient and didn't draw many walks. He's still not a free pass machine, but his walk rate has doubled this year, without any serious increase in strikeouts. He has solid bat speed and, while he's not going to be a big home run hitter, he's hardly punchless and should show more gap power with maturity.
There is more review to read if you click here. Needless to say I'm super excited for Simmons' debut tonight. He's the guy I wanted at shortstop since last season, and while many in the Braves universe argued in favor of Pastornicky, I don't think it will take long for everyone to see how much better Andrelton's all-around game is to Tyler's. I'm not saying he's going to show up a finished product, but his natural abilities should be able to makeup for some of his rookie mistakes.
Kevin Goldstein also reviewed Simmons for Baseball Prospectus and ESPN (sub. req.).
Exciting! Go Braves!