With Spring Training here, it is time to see how the players from the Kingdom of the Netherlands will do in the upcoming season. Of course there is no crystal ball and it is still up in the air, but in general you can make a decent prediction based on the performance of previous years.
Andrelton Simmons, new shortstop of the Anaheim Angels (sorry, I refused to call them Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), was acquired in a trade with the Braves that sent Erick Aybar, Sean Newcomb, Chris Ellis and cash to the Braves. Since the Braves are shedding salary and have two top prospects at the position of shortstop in the minors, they could make this move. One of the prospects is Simmons’ fellow countryman from Curacao, Ozainho Albies. But with Aybar, they can let Albies mature a bit in the minors before calling him up.
Simmons was picked by the Braves in the second round of the 2010 draft. Simmons started his professional career with the Danville Braves in the Appalachian League (Rookie) and was promoted to the Carolina League (A Full Season) in the next season. Simmons was the Braves’ fourth best prospect according to Baseball America.
In 2012 he started at AA and was called up the very same season to debut with the Braves on June 2. He was named the NL’s rookie of the month for June 2012.
Because of his slick fielding, Simmons won two consecutive Gold Gloves in 2013 and 2014. In 2014 he was also awarded the Platinum Glove. Despite being (one of ) the best shortstop(s) again, he did not receive the award in 2015. That honor was for Brandon Crawford, despite his lower fielding percentage.
In 2013 Andrelton participated in the World Baseball Classic with team Netherlands and reached the semi finals. During the tournament, Simmons hit a splendid .382 with ten basehits, three doubles and two homeruns.
The good performance at the plate with the World Baseball Classic, is merely an exception as Simmons is a career .256 hitter. Over the past few seasons, starting in 2012, Simmons hit .289 (2012), .248 (2013), .244 (2014) and .265 (2015). Last year his average fluctuated all season with highs around .270 and lows around .250. Especially the month of July was a tough one for Andrelton as he hit .205 for the month. But eventually he managed to raise it to a respectable .265 at the end of the season. Simmons is an extremely patient hitter as he struck out only 48 times in 535 at bats. Despite not really being a slugger, Simmons has proven to have some pop in his bat. In his first full season with the Braves, he hit seventeen homeruns.
So what can we expect from one of the finest shortstops of Curacao? His defense will be stellar as usual, but it remains to be seen how he will hit.The AL West and NL East are rather similar when it comes to strength. He must get accustomed to the pitchers, but pitchers must learn his weaknesses too, so his BA can go both ways. Since the AL is new to him, I tend to say that his BA will drop a bit.
Anyhow, the Angels have acquired one of the best fielding shortstops, who will remain under their control until 2021. By the time his contract expires, he will be thirty years old, so the Angel fans can enjoy him while he is still in his prime.