Coming into the season, hopes were high for Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta Braves. He put on a show at the World Baseball Classic, demonstrating the skills that made his injury-shortened 2012 season.
While the power he displayed when facing random Taiwainese pitchers is yet to materialize in the big leagues, the defense that helped him essentially rise from single-A to the Show in one year has been on display pretty much every night.
Last night was a terrific example of Simmons unreal arm strength, as he threw out Ian Desmond from his backside having slipped while fielding a very routine grounder. Earlier this month, Simmons put his superlative range on display, racing back to field a foul pop over his shoulder.
Of course, Simmons also did this earlier this season
Even in a tiny sample the defensive metrics love Simmons, who displays the deadly combination of a strong arm, sure hands and terrific range. Given the current state of the shortstop position and the premium placed on defense and run prevention, any offense the Braves (who are hardly wanting for power) get from their defensive dynamo is pretty much gravy.
Gravy like this incredible behind-the-back transfer Simmons pulled off against the Pirates a few weeks ago. The batter, Clint Barmes, beat out the throw for a RBI single and then this slo-mo replay all but disappeared from the internet. All that remains is this Zapruder-style video on some dude’s Youtube channel. May it live forever in our minds and may Andrelton Simmons improve his .220/.283/.280 slash line to avoid a Rey Ordonez-shaped fate.