The Strange Splits of Atlanta Braves’ Andrelton Simmons

Atlanta Braves shortstop

Andrelton Simmons

(19) hits a triple against the Philadelphia Phillies in the sixth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

More from Tomahawk Take

He is hitting .273.  He is walking more than he’s striking out (5.9% to 5.2%).  He’s scored 15 times (third on the team) and driven in 14 runs (tied for first on the team).  Recently, he’s busted out to hit .429 during these first few days of May.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that Andrelton Simmons could be doing oh so much more already in this young season.

Splitting Headaches

Andrelton Simmons has more GIDP’s (Grounded Into Double Play) results than anyone in the majors.  He now has 10.  Next closest is Billy Butler (Oakland) with 7.  Next closest on the Braves is Alberto Callaspo with 4.

How bad is this?

  • Batting average with no one on base:  .315.  Average with runners on?  .222
  • Walks with bases empty:   8 (almost had a 9th one last night).  Walks with runners on base?  1.

Now oddly enough, when runners are on, but also in scoring position, then he goes into beast mode:  .292 average with only 2 GIDP.

But it appears that this “solo runner on first” scenario is messing with his head… or at least messing with his approach.  Simmons is clearly trying to move the runner over in these situations – he’s making contact (just 3 K’s, 1 walk), but it just isn’t working out for him.

Based on information, it appears that Simmons has been to the plate 22 times with a solo runner on first base.  In 3 cases, he has 3 hits (.136).  In 8 of those situations, a double play followed.  That’s 36% of his opportunities… and clearly inning killers.

Yet put a runner in scoring position, and that’s been the setting for generating 11 of his 14 RBI with just 2 GIDPs.  And that’s a good thing.

What Do You Do With That?

Clearly, when you see the RISP numbers, Simmons is getting the job done.  I would be tempted to tell him “act like all runners are in scoring position.”  Overall, you can’t fault the approach:

  • With bases empty, he’s trying to get on base (lots of his walks, .403 situational OBP)
  • With RISP, he’s trying to get them home (11 of 14 RBI, .292 avg, Line-drive rate zooms to 43%, though also doubles his K-rate to 12% as a consequence…I’ll take that)
  • With a runner on first, he wants to move him over… but he just isn’t doing very well.

One point:  it is evident that Simmons is more-or-less consistently in the middle of all the action… which means that as he goes, so goes the Braves. It would therefore be helpful to the overall offense if this single problem could be straightened out soon.

One more point:  these splits all suggest that Simmons is coming to the plate with a plan.  The fact that the plan is working even most of the time is actually pretty awesome.

So yes:  the GIDP explosion is problematic.  But overall, I do like the direction this seems to be going.