Tomahawk Chops: Is Andrelton Simmons Baseball's Newest Star?

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

At the age of 23, Simmons is already being tabbed a star by some pundits. Just how good can he be? The numbers are pretty staggering.

Regardless of what he hits, Andrelton Simmons is going to have a long career in professional baseball because of his defense.

Coming up through the system as a potential shortstop to build around, the Braves wasted no time getting Simmons up to the Major Leagues. He appeared in only 238 games in the minors, and most felt he could've become the Braves' starting shortstop when the team broke camp last spring due to his glove. Instead, they chose to get him some more seasoning in Double-A.

Just how good can Simmons be? In 49 games last season, he batted .289/.335/.416 with a .324 wOBA. That's above-average for a shortstop at the highest level. His career line in the Minor Leagues was .299/.352/.397.

When you see him doing things like this, fun things start to pop into your head for just how good this kid can be.

As David Shoenfield of ESPN wrote in his blog earlier this week, Simmons could be on his way to being one of the most valuable commodities in all baseball.

In 49 games, Simmons saved 19 runs. Only Brendan Ryan of the Mariners, who saved 27, was higher amongst shortstops. Ryan played 141 games last year.

"Simmons has -- yes -- Ozzie Smith-like potential in the field. I don't know if anyone has Ozzie's first-step quickness, but Simmons is close and has a stronger arm than the Wizard."

Simmons was worth 2.8 WAR last season, which was ninth-best amongst qualified shortstops in baseball. Again, he only played 49 games.

On defense alone, Simmons projects to be worth at least three wins every season. He could be a perfectly average hitter and still be one of the most valuable players in baseball when considering his cost and what he provides in the field and on the base paths.

Is it guaranteed the Braves' young phenom is going to develop into a star? No. Nothing is guaranteed in baseball. But the fact that he is so good at just the age of 23 is pretty scary to think about.

It seems there may be another star emerging in Atlanta to help build around alongside Jason Heyward.

And Justin Upton.

And Freddie Freeman.

And B.J. Upton.

And Craig Kimbrel.

And Kris Medlen.

And Julio Teheran.

--

And now onto some links...

Julio Teheran dazzles with five no-hit frames vs. Cards | braves.com: News
Julio Teheran pitched five no-hit innings, bolstering his bid for the fifth spot in the Braves' starting rotation, as Atlanta beat the Cardinals, 12-3, at Champion Stadium on Tuesday.

Heyward’s shoulder ‘all good’ | www.ajc.com
A day after he was scratched from the lineup for a sore shoulder, Jason Heyward said it was nothing to be concerned about and played like it Tuesday against St. Louis.

O'Flaherty logs scoreless inning in spring debut | braves.com: News
Eric O'Flaherty might not have been graceful after fielding a swinging bunt on Tuesday. But the left-handed setup man certainly looked healthy while completing a scoreless inning in his Spring Training debut vs. the Cardinals.

Gattis keeps slugging in bid for Braves bench job | www.ajc.com
Evan Gattis continued his spring pillaging Tuesday when the Braves bench candidate went 2-for-2 with two doubles and three RBIs in a 12-3 win against St. Louis.

Prospect Alex Wood making impression on Braves | braves.com: News
Less than a year removed from his career at the University of Georgia, Alex Wood has spent the past couple of weeks impressing some of the Braves pitchers that he and many of his college friends grew up idolizing.

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