Although many people had been speculating a move with Tyler Pastornicky and Andrelton Simmons for a while, the move was just made official last night. The brilliant glove of Andrelton will come up and help out the Braves well below average infield defense.
Tyler Pastornicky seemed to be doing everything the Braves front office wanted at the beginning of the season, but he couldn’t keep his offense going, and the defense slowly got worse. He finished off his first MLB stint in the majors with a .248/.281/.324 triple slash which wasn’t up to scratch when combined with his poor defense. Pastornicky is tied for 5th in errors among shortstops and last among qualified shortstops in fielding percentage (.948). Pastornicky’s best asset was supposed to be his speed but he only managed 2 stolen bases over 45 games.
Most people who have gone over this move have praised the team for letting Pastornicky start out the year in the majors and giving Simmons time to work on his bat in double A. I am among them, as most people should be.
Like I have said before I am a big fan of Tyler Pastornicky, but that doesn’t mean I want him to play at the expense of the team. Simmons is going to be a joy to watch in the field and with a pretty solid hit tool at worst he is going to bring the same offense to the table as TP but with extremely good defense. Keith Law ranked Simmons arm and defense an 80 on the 20-80 scale and Ben Duronio says that he might already be a better defender than Yunel Escobar and Elvis Andrus, which is incredible for a shortstop who has yet to reach the majors.
Besides his amazing defensive game, Simmons has improved on his offensive game as well so far in 2012 in double A for the first time. In 43 games he has a triple slash of .292/..372/.421 with a 10% walk rate and a 10% K rate. The walk rate is almost doubled from high A—which is a great sign—and the K rate is only up by three points. Simmons has also managed to steal 10 bases while being caught just twice.
As Ben mentions in the Fangraphs piece I linked, the pitchers should all benefit greatly from the vast improvement in the 6 hole behind them. I am looking forward to watching Simmons play, and we could be seeing the future shortstop of the Atlanta Braves begin his rise right now.