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.
MLB.com 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.