Atlanta Braves 2012 Prospect Review: Andrelton Simmons

Sep 12, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) breaks his bat while grounding out against the New York Mets during the second inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) breaks his bat while grounding out against the New York Mets during the second inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

We continue down the home stretch of our review of the 2012 Atlanta Braves top prospects. Today, we get a treat, as we talk about the 4th ranked prospect at that time, Andrelton Simmons. Before we get too far, check out the previous editions here:

Andrelton Simmons- Defensive Maestro

A native of Mundo, Nobo, Curaco, Andrelton Simmons came to the states earlier than most international guys. In fact, he played college ball at Western Oklahoma State College, which is where he finally started drawing the attention of pro scouts. The Braves would select Simmons in the 2nd round of the 2010 MLB draft.

Out of everyone we will review on this list, Andrelton Simmons has easily had the best career. There was hope he would turn into a solid offensive player as well. The scouting report on him at that time said, “good bat speed and ability to make consistent contact. He did not strikeout much but was considered a free swinger that might now walk much. He did not spend much time in the minors but here are his numbers.

  • 2010 Rookie: 62 games, 269 plate appearances- .276/.340/.356 2 HR, 36 R, 26 RBI, 18 SB, .320 wOBA, & 100 wRC+
  • 2011 A+: 131 games, 570 plate appearances- .311/.351/.408 1 HR, 69 R, 52 RBI, 26 SB, .343 wOBA, & 115 wRC+
  • 2012 AA: 44 games, 203 plate appearances- .293/.372/.420 3 HR, 29 R, 21 RBI, 10 SB, .366 wOBA, & 123 wRC+

Simmons showed some promise with the stick during his brief run through the minor leagues. What was elevating his prospect status was what we came to know and love about Simba, his elite defense. Yes, even throughout the minor leagues, the legend of Simmons defensive prowess was beginning to draw attention.

In fact, prior to the 2012 season, Simba was ranked 92nd overall according to Baseball America and would climb as high as 65th according to MLB pipeline.

2012 was important to Simmons career though. As we know from the Tyler Pastornicky review, Simmons would earn his big league call up and make his MLB debut on June 2nd against the Washington Nationals. Simmons came up all the way from AA to replace Pastornicky who was the opening day shortstop. As we know, that did not go well as Pastornicky could not hit and was graded the worst shortstop in the NL.

Simmons hit the ground running and claimed the job for himself. In 2012, Simmons hit .289/.335/.416 with 3 HR, 17 R, 19 RBI, 1 SB, with a .324 wOBA & 103 wRC+ in 49 games and 182 plate appearances. He dazzled in the field with 19 DRS in only 426 innings. He did not qualify but would have ranked second in baseball among shortstops. For reference, first place was Brendan Ryan with 27 DRS in 1170.2 innings.  JJ Hardy finished second among those qualified with 18  DRS in 1439 innings. It is unfortunate that Simmons rookie season was bothered by a broken bone in his right hand that forced him to miss significant time. Still, Simmons was worth 2.9 bWAR & 1.8 fWAR, most of that due to his 2.4 dWAR.

The Braves had found their shortstop.

Even with his bat regressing in 2013, Simmons still provided significant value for the club. In 157 games with 658 plate appearances, the Braves shortstop hit .248/.296/.396 with 17 HR, 76 R, 59 RBI, 6 SB with a .303 wOBA & 91 wRC+. That is perfectly fine when Simmons provides 30 DRS in 1352.1 innings and 4.3 dWAR that season. Overall, he was worth 5.8 bWAR and 3.5 fWAR.

The 30 DRS in 2013 was first among all shortstops in baseball and the most ever recorded in a single year at the time. Second place was Pete Kozma with 6. This work earned him not only a Gold Glove but also the Fielding Bible and a Platinum Glove.

The Braves were enamored with Simmons and offered him a 7-year contract extension worth $58M before the 2014 season to grab a little more control over their defensive wizard.

Unfortunately, the 2014 season saw more regression. In 146 games, 576 plate appearances, Simmons hit .244/.286/.331 7 HR, 44 R, 46 RBI, 4 SB with a .273 wOBA & 71 wRC+. His defense was not as good; however, it was still elite. He had 19 DRS in 1277 innings, leading all shortstops. His 2.9 dWAR was good enough to earn another gold glove award. He was worth 2.6 bWAR & 1.7 fWAR.

Simmons picked it back up for the 2015 season. In 147 games, 583 plate appearances, he hit .265/.321/.338 4 HR, 60 R, 44 RBI, 5 SB with a .290 wOBA & 81 wRC+. While he was still a below average bat, it was a slight improvement over the previous year. It was also made up for with another stellar season defensively. He totaled 30 DRS once again along with a 4.1 dWAR. Somehow he did not win gold glove, instead that went to Brandon Crawford who trailed Simmons with 22 DRS & 3.2 dWAR. A robbery but Simmons was still worth 4.5 bWAR & 3.1 fWAR.

This would actually mark the last year Andrelton Simmons would spend in Atlanta. At this time, the Braves were heading deep into a major rebuild and he would be shipped off. Before we get there, here is a fun fact about Simmons.

From the moment he debuted in 2012 to the end of the 2015 season, Andrelton Simmons was worth 98 DRS, which was the most in all of baseball across all positions. Second place was a tie between Yadier Molina and old friend Jason Heyward with 77 DRS. The closest shortstop was Brandon Crawford who had 46 DRS in that time frame. Yes, Simmons had 52 more DRS than the next closest shortstop in that same period.

Andrelton Simmons was worth 13.7 dWAR in his time with the Braves. In terms of overall WAR, he was worth 15.9 bWAR & 10.1 fWAR. I understand why he was traded but I would be lying if I said it did not break my heart at the time. I loved watching Simba in a Braves uniform.

Andrelton Simmons- Angelic Shortstop

On November 15th, 2015 the Atlanta Braves traded Andrelton Simmons, along with José Briceño to the Los Angeles Angels for Erick Aybar, Chris Ellis, and Sean Newcomb.

The return for the Braves could be an article review for another time. Now, we look at Simmons going to Anaheim. It went really well for the first three years, the fourth year was a little dicey, and the final year was the Covid year which is always tough to evaluate.

I will break down his five season both offensively and defensively here:


  • 2016: 124 games, 483 plate appearances- .281/.324/.366 4 HR, 48 R, 44 RBI, 10 SB with a .302 wOBA & 90 wRC+
  • 2017: 158 games, 647 plate appearances- .278/.331/.421 14 HR, 77 R, 69 RBI, 19 SB with a .323 wOBA & 102 wRC+
  • 2018: 146 games, 600 plate appearances- .292/.337/.417 11 HR, 68 R, 75 RBI, 10 SB with a .326 wOBA & 106 wRC+
  • 2019: 103 games, 424 plate appearances- .264/.309/.364 7 HR, 47 R, 40 RBI, 10 SB with a .290 wOBA & 78 wRC+
  • 2020: 30 games, 127 plate appearances- .297/.346/.356 0 HR, 19 R, 10 RBI, 2 SB with a .313 wOBA & 95 wRC+


  • 2016: 1045 innings, 20 DRS, 2.8 dWAR
  • 2017: 1369.2 innings, 41 DRS, 5.1 dWAR
  • 2018: 1254.2 innings, 17 DRS, 2.7 dWAR
  • 2019: 873.1 innings, 8 DRS, 1.4 dWAR
  • 2020: 265.1 innings, -2 DRS, 0.0 dWAR

The 2016 season was going well for Simmons before tearing a ligament in his left thumb forcing him to miss a month. Simmons was still worth 4.4 bWAR & 2.6 fWAR. A valuable player.

2017 ended up being the best year of Simmons’ entire career. Lead by a great offensive season by his standards and maybe the best modern defensive season of all time. The 41 DRS is the highest DRS single season total of all time and the 5.1 dWAR is the third highest ever. Simmons career year totaled 7.9 bWAR & 4.9 fWAR.

2018 ended up being Simmons best offensive year of his career. The 106 wRC+ shows his offensive ceiling though. He was still elite defensively which led to a 5.7 bWAR & 4.5 fWAR.

2019 season was hampered by an ankle injury which cut into his production. This is seen with the drop in WAR totals to 1.5 bWAR & 1.9 fWAR.

Then his final 2020 season was already the COVID season, plus Simmons began dealing with some mental health issues. This caused him to opt out of the remainder of the 2020 season, ending his tenure with the Los Angeles Angels.

During his tenure with the Angels, Simmons accumulated the second most DRS in baseball with 84, trailing only Mookie Betts (107). Simmons still comfortably led all shortstops, as Nick Ahmed (old friend) was second with 69 DRS.

Defensively, Simmons racked up 12.1 dWAR with the Angels. His overall worth according to WAR was 20.0 bWAR & 14.3 fWAR in his 5 seasons in Anaheim. Up next, free agency for the first time in his career.

The Backend of Andrelton Simmons Career

On January 31st, 2021 Simmons signed a one-year $10.5M contract with the Minnesota Twins. It would be his worst offensive season of his career, hitting .223/.283/.274 3 HR, 37 R, 31 RBI, 1 SB with a .252 wOBA & 58 wRC+. Defensively, he still tallied 15 DRS and a 2.3 dWAR. He was still valuable defensively, but the bat was almost unplayable. He was worth 1.5 bWAR & 0.9 fWAR.

He would once again hit free agency, this time signing with the Chicago Cubs for a one-year $4M deal for the 2022 season. Simmons was mostly injured last year, only playing 35 games in what was a lost season.

As of time of writing, he is currently a free agent.

Andrelton Simmons Legacy

While we wait to see where Simmons could end up in 2023, we can look back on what has been a phenomenal career. Simmons is not going to end up in the Hall of Fame but even if he never plays again, he is going to be remembered as one of the best defensive players to ever play the game.

His 201 DRS is the most Defensive Runs Saved of all time currently. He leads Adrian Beltre who had 200 DRS for his career. Since 2012, Simmons paces all of baseball by 46 DRS. Second place is Nolan Arenado with 155 DRS. The second shortstop on the list is Carlos Correa with 70 DRS.

Simmons’ 28.5 dWAR leads all active players, ahead of Nolan Arenado with 18.8 dWAR. The 28.5 dWAR is tied for 11th all-time among all players.

To put it into another perspective, Simmons has been a below average offensive player in his career. His defense has been so good since entering the major leagues, and he has played long enough, that his 37.1 bWAR ranks 31st among active players.

Somehow only has 4 Gold Gloves. Really tells you a lot about the validity of that award.

It has been a pleasure to watch Andrelton Simmons’ career. One of the greatest defenders of all time. He started with the Braves as the 4th ranked prospect for 2012.

It has been a treat looking back on Simmons. Up next, we move to the third ranked prospect in the Braves organization, Randall Delgado!