I have been looking forward to doing this prospect report for a while now. I haven’t written too much about Simmons, and he is one of the most interesting prospects in the system (at least in my opinion). Simmons has an incredibly high ceiling but has some work to do before he gets there.
For all of the prospect reports so far we have started with offense and while I would love to get to his glove, I am going to keep it consistent. Like so many other Braves prospects, the weakest part of Simmons’ game is with the bat. He doesn’t have much power and he doesn’t project to hit for much power…ever. If it tells you anything, he has yet to crack a .100 ISO in more than 800 high A or lower at bats.
He doesn’t walk or strike out much, which is a common theme among fast guys with little pop. He needs to hit for a high average in order to be effective offensively and while he has a long way to go, he has shown that he does have the ability to do that.
Andrelton Simmons has already become just as well-known for his bat as his glove: the Curacao native collected the batting title in the high-A Carolina League last year with a .311 average.
I think it is a huge stretch to say he has become as well-known for his bat as his glove, but yes he did have a solid season with a line of .311/.351/.408. We need to remember that this is high A and his BABIP was also .334. We can’t tell what Simmons’ normal BABIP is yet simply because we haven’t gathered enough stats from him in just two years. It’s definitely possible for him to be able to keep a BABIP that high consistently because of his speed but I want to see him do that a bit more.
Andrelton Simmons has never had a bad swing and according to some people I know who are great at analyzing swing mechanics, it is a very good hit tool and he could become an above average hitter. He has the body to grow into and develop more power as he adds some weight but I am still not expecting a ton from him.
In the end his offense is still a mystery. Another season in 2012 will give us a much better idea of what to expect with the bat.
The one thing we shouldn’t question a bit is the defense. Simmons is regarded as one of the best defensive shortstops in the game right now. That is not compared to just prospects, that is being compared to every shortstop in the game of baseball. From a 22 year old that is extremely impressive.
The Braves initially wanted to sign Simmons as a pitcher, but he told them he wanted to play shortstop. He threw in the mid 90’s from the mound and shockingly he has one of the better arms in the game. An absolute cannon. His hands and footwork are also top of the line. Compare all of these things with his above average speed and you have one of the premium defenders in the game.
His defense alone is enough to make Simmons crack the Braves top ten prospects, MLB.com’s top 10 shortstop prospect list, and thought of by many as the Atlanta Braves shortstop of the future.
Here is what MLB.com says about Simmons:
9. Andrelton Simmons, Braves: Simmons had about as solid a first full season as you could ask for in 2011, playing at two levels while hitting for average, stealing bases and playing outstanding defense at short. The Curacao native is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, with a plus arm and range. He has offensive skills as well, with good bat speed and ability to make consistent contact. While Simmons doesn’t strike out, he is a bit of a free swinger and he could tone that down some, along with his basestealing approach. Once that all comes together, starting this season at Double-A Mississippi, he could be a high-level everyday shortstop.
If Andrelton can develop offensively he could end up looking a lot like Texas shortstop—and previous Braves prospect—Elvis Andrus but with less speed and maybe better defense. I normally don’t do player ‘comps’ because generally they don’t make much sense but this one does. And if Simmons does end up like Elvis will anyone be complaining? I don’t think so.