How fun is it to watch Andrelton Simmons play baseball on a day-to-day basis? Easy answer: it’s amazing. However, when he steps up to the plate for the Atlanta Braves, the feeling that fans get can’t be filled with confidence. That’s not great knowing that he just signed a seven-year deal.
Do I think that he can turn it around? Yes. But if he doesn’t, it could be a long seven years with a shortstop who doesn’t hit very well at all.
Simmons is a defensive wizard, this is true. At the plate … not so much. Granted, when he came through the minor leagues, the knock on him was the fact that his bat was developing slower than that of his counterpart Tyler Pastornicky. Yet, in 2012, when he hit .289 in 49 games, the Braves thought they were getting a special player. Now, after hitting .248 in 2013, he is hitting that exact same number in 2014.
What is even more alarming about the low batting average is the fact that his OBP is .289, which is extremely low for any starter on any major league team.
It’s true that he doesn’t strike out much at all, only whiffing 55 times through the whole 2013 season. However, he is going to walk less times than he will strike out, which means that it won’t be often at all. It’s true that he puts the ball in play a lot, which is a good thing sometimes. However, when you don’t walk, you aren’t going to be able to get on base nearly as much as your team would like.
Where the team has high hopes for Simmons is his power. With 17 home runs in 2013, we all thought that he might be able to hit 20 home runs and drive in 60-75 runs in a season. That doesn’t seem to be the case in 2014. Not only has he hit only five home runs, he doesn’t have an average that allows him to take some big swings for that power.
If he wants to continue being a successful major league player, he has to shorten his swing, get on base more and not worry about power as much.