Braves’ Andrelton Simmons Rated 9th Best Shortstop Prospect

The Atlanta Braves are headed into Spring Training with 22 year old Tyler Pastornicky penciled in as their starting shortstop for 2012. Pastornicky has been a fast rising prospect for the Braves. They acquired him from the Toronto Blue Jays for Yunel Escobar two season ago. Pastornicky has a lot of pressure on him headed into this year. That pressure is only heating up because of the player shooting up through the Braves’ farm system. ranked the top 10 shortstop prospects in the MLB earlier. The Braves’ Andrelton Simmons was ranked 9th on that list. Pastornicky did not make the list. Here is what they said about Simmons:

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.

This is a good problem for the Braves to have. I am excited to see Simmons develop more. He already has the defense to play shortstop in Atlanta.

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  • Scotty Duttuno

    lol dude you decapatated poor andre simmons in the preview pic

    i hate that we had to trade yunel but you gotta go with bobby’s choice and if yunel wasnt good for the team than so be it but really our short stop should be elvis andrews man but i guess they made a push trading him for tex but still it didnt work out and all we got was krotchman who was finally good last season for tampa

    • Chad

      I guess the pic was a little too tall. It isn’t easy finding a picture of him to use, actually.

  • Frank from Bethlehem

    Honestly, I find this entertaining. As a Phillies fan I’m bummed that JRoll is slipping to merely a top 10 or so major league short stop.

    Meanwhile the mighty Braves are celebrating that not the current short stop but hopefully the next one is ranked 9th in a list of short stop prospects. Thank you for the laugh and for the relief that perspective gave me.

    Also, it’d be nice if you could link an article when you reference it so I don’t have to google it. I’m sure if you’re going to gloss whole paragraphs, the source site would appreciate a link as well.

    • Chad

      I think it is a pretty good situation to have for the Braves. Pastornicky has earned an opportunity to play this upcoming year. Simmons has many scouts thinking that he could be a solid every day player.

      To be honest, it is similar to what the Braves had with Yunel Escobar and Elvis Andrus. Andrus was the big-time prospect and Escobar was viewed as a short-term solution until Andrus was ready. When Escobar peformed so well, the Braves were able to trade Andrus away. It was not a good trade of Andrus or Escobar, but it was a good problem to have.

      I like J-Roll, I’ll admit. I would have loved to have signed him away from you guys. It is nice to have a farm system to celebrate. Last time I checked, the Phillies have traded their farm away. Braves fans should tell you that you will not always be on top.

      When the Phillies have a little more success on top, criticize the Braves.

      • Frank from Bethlehem

        I didn’t mean to criticize the Braves. I think they’re developing a good team, much like the Phillies did back in the eary 2000′s. I think that your continued optimism on mid range prospects is evidence of the success you’ve had with prospects already. You’ve had enough successes to offset the failures in your memory.

        You’re right that you can’t stay on top forever, which is why when your group of talented home grown guys start aging it’s worth it to trade our farm system and increase payroll to add pieces that might help us win a few more World Series flags while we can.

        Your smack talk cracks me up. I wasn’t criticizing the Braves, but if I wanted to how much success would my Phillies need? We’ve won 5 straight division championships with a 6th likey coming this year. Must we match the number of your all-time franchise dynasty team? In that case, I better not see you criticizing the A’s moves to unload good young pitchers and sign aging outfielders, because they won 3 World Series in the 70′s and your Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz Braves only won 1.

        Good thing for me I’m also a Yankees fan, so I guess I can criticize any franchise I want, if I ever do actually want to.

        • Frank from Bethlehem

          editing failure in the first line of the second paragraph

          was talking about the Phillies’ aging core talent, not yours

        • Chad

          There is no harm in a little friendly smack talk, right?

          Man, you pull for the Phillies and Yankees? I guess you hedge your bets well that way.

          To be honest, I completely agree with how the Phillies are managing their team right now. They have one of the most supportive fan bases and the best rotation in the majors. They need to go after the pieces that can help them win it all. Their window with their current group is closing, so they have to try to win with the quality core that they have right now. One thing is certain, I don’t see them going away. They will be able to rebuild when the time comes.

  • Matt

    It’s nice to have optimistic things said about any of our players, whether they’re prospects or veterans.

    Still, articles like this one can be nearly meaningless…ranking top prospects at a particular position without giving context of how they rank overall leaves us with little information. It’s fun and all, like a Jayson Stark article about the last guy to lead off the 3rd inning with a walk in 5 consecutive games, but it’s equally valueless without more information. It reminds me of commentators citing the New York (football) Giants’ all-time playoff record as a predictor of their chances in the next game, as if anything Frank Gifford might have done has bearing on Eli Manning.

    If you were to look up a list of top short stop prospects without any context of where they rank overall from, I don’t know, 5 years ago, you might find that you don’t recognize a single name as a major league contributor now. Then again, if you looked 7 years ago (going by memory, didn’t look it up) at such a list, you’d find Hanley Ramirez, J.J. Hardy and Ian Kinsler along with some other serviceable major leaguers. Of course you’d also find Joel Guzman and one of the Tuiasosopo brothers…so even in a good deep year for the position being on the list only gives you a 50/50 shot at sticking in the majors, and maybe a 1 in 10 shot at being an all-star.

    Also, evaluations that a player can really turn the corner to be something special if he’d just improve his selectivity at the plate is about as common and unlikely to work out as analysis that a pitcher can become a solid #3 starter if he’d only learn another plus pitch.

    That so many Braves players rank on so many of these lists is a good thing though, and actually indicative of a promising future…especially guys like Teheran who rank in the top 5 in the overall prospect lists.

  • Chief Locked Heart

    I just read that MLB shortstops hit .263/.317/.380 in 2011. That’s down significantly from 10 years ago. At first I wondered how much of that dropoff is just losing ARod and Nomar, two historically great SS’s peak wise, from the top of that list. Well, that does account for some of it…the top SS’s now, Tulo followed closely by a mythical healthy Jose Reyes…provide much less value than ARod, Nomar and even young Jeter. But still the average SS value has dropped too…”second tier” guys (as in not Tulo, Reyes or Hanley) like Stephen Drew look more like Mike Bordick from a decade ago than like Miguel Tejada or Rich Aurilia.

    As far as the Braves are concerned, last season Sea Bass hit .241/.270/.372 but with better defense than the average shortstop, so he translated to average – by 2011 standards – all totalled. It doesn’t look like Pastornicky or Simmons will have to be all that great to be valuable to the Braves.