Simba hits, Simba fields, Simba runs, Simba breeds excitement.
The spectacular start that Atlanta Braves rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons has gotten off to has not gone unnoticed. Simmons was named the National League Rookie of the Month for June. Simmons hit .333 (30-for-90) with 6 doubles, 3 home runs and 14 RBI during the month.
The 22-year-old ranked among N.L. rookie leaders in nearly every offensive category, placing first in batting average, on-base percentage (.365) and hits. Simmons had the second-highest rookie slugging percentage (.522), tied for second in RBI, tied for third in doubles, tied for sixth in home runs and tied for seventh in runs scored (10).
Since his Major League debut on June 2nd, Simmons has started at shortstop in 26 games for the Braves, leading the Club with 10 multi-hit games in that span. The youngster hit safely in 17 of his first 25 Major League contests and notched five multi-RBI games in his first calendar month.
Simba has been everything the Braves hoped he would be, and possibly more. His offense has been the biggest surprise, but his defense has made the biggest difference. By switching from Tyler Pastornicky to Simmons, the Braves went from the worst defensive shortstop in baseball according to UZR (-12.3) to one of the best (5.9, 4th in baseball). Simmons has also brought a youthful excitement and intensity to the club.
Great news for the Braves, and for Simmons. While the Braves have had several Player of the "Week" representatives this year, Simmons is their first "of the Month" for the team.