Tempering Expectations for Andrelton Simmons’ Return


This is kind of cool:

"Rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons will rejoin the Braves on Monday with the hope that he can prove to be the spark that he was before his promising rookie season was derailed by the fractured right pinkie finger he sustained on July 8.Mark Bowman, Braves.com"

July 4, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) fields a ground ball in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Yet, I hope we all are smart enough fans to realize we should not be relying on the 23 year old shortstop with just a buck 25 in plate appearances (that’s 125 for the less witty out there). There is a reason that Andrelton Simmons was brought up to the bigs so quickly and that is because of his outstanding defense at the 6 hole.

That’s pretty much what we should be expecting of Simmons’ return. Highlight reel defense and a bat that is not a black hole like Paul Janish’s was (.188/.268/.236) in 183 at bats this year. I’m not knocking on Janish, the guy came in and did what we needed him to – play good defense. But now that Simmons is back we should expect a bit of production out of the 8 hole, where Andrelton should be hitting.

I think people forget that Simmons came up and really over performed on the offensive side of his game. We expected a decent average but below or right at shortstop averages for his OBP and SLG. Simmons has always hit for a relatively high average and that wasn’t completely out of no where. His power numbers were a surprise and we shouldn’t expect them to continue when he returns to the lineup Monday.

"One of the main detractors from Simmons’ minor league numbers was the pop. He showed a relatively small amount of it throughout the three levels he played at, forcing his OBP to carry his bat. The pop he showed in his 125 plate appearances in the big leagues is an outlier and should not be relied upon.Ben Duronio, CAC"

Ben is right on this one – as usual. Take a look at Simmons power numbers in the minors and majors respectively:

2010 (R)269.079.3562
2011 (A+)570.097.4081
2012 (AA)203.126.4203
2012 (MLB)125.157.4523

It is true that Simmons’ ISO and SLG marks have all improved with each year and/or league but the jump in power from double A to the majors is definitely something we should remain skeptical about. Something else to note is the home runs. He hit 3 homers this year with Atlanta compared to 3 in Mississippi with almost two times the at bats.

We could make the argument that Simmons is just naturally growing into his power but based on where his homers have gone out this year, I would say it’s just the wonders of baseball.

But just because we can’t expect some awesome offense from Andrelton Simmons doesn’t mean we can’t from these two guys.