The Atlanta Braves take great pride in developing players through their farm system, and one of their most coveted and aspiring young stars is a home-grown talent. Braves starting shortstop Andrelton Simmons is a star in the making and has the potential to solidify his name this year as the best all-around shortstop in MLB.
In 2012, Simmons came onto the scene as a 22-year-old rookie with lofty expectations, as many Braves farm system players do. During that season, Simmons batted .289 in 49 games while driving in 19 RBIs. Where Simmons made his mark in his first season, however, was on the defensive side. In 49 games in 2012, Simmons only committed three errors and recorded a fielding percentage of .987.
This past season is where Simmons truly impressed as he solidified himself as the best defensive shortstop in the NL by winning the 2013 Gold Glove Award and NL Platinum Glove Award. Simmons played in 156 games last season and tallied just 14 errors with a .981 fielding percentage. As a hitter, Simmons’ average dropped slightly from 2012 as he hit just .248, but he did record 150 hits and 27 doubles while hitting 17 home runs.
Entering this season, Simmons is undoubtedly one of the best shortstops in the game, and he will need to play like it if the Braves want to repeat as NL East Champions and make a run at the World Series.
The Braves and their fans know that they will get a solid defensive year from Simmons this season, but if he wants to become the best all-around shortstop in the league, he must develop a more consistent bat, which I believe he will given time.
Simmons need to simply maintain a .250 batting average, but be able to hit around 20 home runs and drive in 70 or more runs. If he can be a more consistent hitter, considering his versatility to move up and down the batting order, it will be a vital piece to the Braves’ offense this coming season.
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