How good do you have to be to be considered the best at what you do? Well, when your profession includes people from all over the world, you have to be pretty darn good. For the Atlanta Braves, I’m not talking about Craig Kimbrel or Freddie Freeman. I’m also not referring to B.J. Upton and his kingdom over the strikeout.
Enter Andrelton Simmons.
How stinking good is he? First off, his straight up fielding percentage of .981 in 2013 was well above the league average of .975, which was the fourth best mark in the major leagues. He also led the league in assists, total zone runs above average, putouts, range factor and defensive WAR. Yeah, he’s pretty slick with the glove. If you didn’t know that, you’ve lived under a rock with no baseball for over a year now.
However, what makes Simmons the defensive wizard that he is today? The first thing that I see is his physical ability. He has amazing range that is unmatched by any shortstop in the league today and his arm is another facet that can’t be touched by another infielder in the game today.
Yet, there is more to Simmons on the defensive side of the ball. We see him make play after play that other players would have given up on 10 times out of 10. That’s exactly what he has that everybody else in the league at shortstop lacks. Effort. He has said that there isn’t a ball that is hit close to him that he doesn’t think that he can’t get. With that, when the ball is put in play, he expects to make the play every single time.
On top of his defensive prowess, Simmons had a total WAR in 2013 of 6.9 which was good enough for sixth in all of baseball. He is going to get the Braves 15-20 home runs and has the possibility of hitting in the second slot in the lineup, seeing that Upton isn’t going to be able to put the ball in play enough to remain there.
Put it all together, there isn’t a shortstop in baseball as good as Simmons. There may be better offensive players, but overall, Simmons has helped the Braves save more runs and possibly win more games than any offense that any other player could have provided in that spot.