Why Andrelton Simmons' Bat is Not a Problem

By Rob Holden
Andrelton Simmons
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta BravesAndrelton Simmonslooks lost at the plate” according to some baseball fans.

And this is a valid conjecture. Simmons pops up all the time, all too often in crucial situations. His batting average is an atrocious .240, and his OBP is even worse at .284. For much of the year Simmons has been batting either leadoff or in the two-hole, and numbers like that simply won’t cut it at the top of the order.

There is no doubt the Braves shortstop has gotten home run happy. He takes a vicious cut every time, often falling out of the batters box and over the plate. He lacks control in his approach and discipline in pitch selection. The best medicine for him would be to sit down and have a lengthy conversation with Jordan Schafer.

Schafer went through the same thing a of couple years ago. He wanted to hit the long ball, and he envisioned himself as a home run hitter. But after much disappointment and eventually being cut by the Major League worst Houston Astros, the Braves backup center fielder reinvented himself and is having a spectacular year off the bench.

But whether or not Simmons has a clue while up at bat doesn’t matter in the least. His bat will come around with time, experience, and as he matures at the Major League level. Eventually he will learn his role, begin hitting the ball on the ground and gap to gap. But until then, there is simply nothing to worry about; Simmons’ defense more than makes up for his offensive deficiencies.

Simmons boasts a 4.5 DWAR. That’s 2.6 points higher than the next closest shortstop and 1.3 points higher than the next closest player at any position. To put it plainly, Simmons’ defense is, quite literally, off the charts. No one comes anywhere close to comparing to him.

And so I say forget his bat; let him go up there with a wet newspaper and hope for the best. If he keeps playing defense the way he currently is (and there is no reason to suspect that he won’t) his bat may never matter. He saves games multiple times in nine innings with his glove alone. Not many other players can say that.

Rob Holden is an Atlanta Braves writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobMHolden, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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