Now, a defensive prospect isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world. However, Braves fans should be excited about what’s in store when it comes to Simmons. The 22-year-old Curacao native will surely razzle and dazzle with his leather better than any Braves shortstop in club history if his bat can keep up with his talented glove, which will be a must if he wishes to stay in the big leagues. Simmons definetely has age on his side. That means his abilities in the batter’s box will improve in time. And if those skills develop as quickly as his defensive ones have in such a short period of time, Simmons just may be the next Ozzie Smith or Derek Jeter type of player.
At this point, you might be thinking I’m making a huge jump with that prediction and you might be right. However, I have to believe in this guy after what his glove showed us in the Minor Leagues. Instead of struggling as he made his way up the ranks, Simmons’ defense only got better. In just a handful of games at the rookie-league level, he honed a .974 fielding percentage. Once Simmons had a full season of minor league ball under his belt in Single-A Lynchburg, he digressed slightly, securing a .958 fielding percentage, but the best was yet to come. This season, Simmons made waves throughout Atlanta’s organzation and even challenged recently demoted shortstop Tyler Pastornicky for the big league gig as the Braves’ every day shortstop. And although Simmons didn’t win the job, he didn’t stay in the minors for long. Maybe that’s because he was phenomenal in the filed for Double-A Mississippi where committed just four errors in 46 games while holding down a .983 fielding percentage. Can you say big league ready? (more…)
BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
Put a mark on the wall.
The Atlanta Braves finally made a move this offseason, signing free agent shortstop Jack Wilson to a one-year deal Friday. The move brings Wilson back to the Braves after Atlanta acquired the 10-year veteran late in the season. Inking Wilson to his $1 million deal is just the third major league transaction Braves General Manager Frank Wren has made this winter and it was more like a resigning than a true free agent deal because Wilson actually started in Atlanta’s 162nd game last season.
So once again, Atlanta’s inactivity has left fans yawning at best. However, some are happy with the deal because it was a cheap solution to one of the Braves’ glaring holes. Signing Wilson is safe. He is durable and plays good defense, hence his .977 lifetime fielding percentage. It’s just hard to get excited about a guy who knocked in just 11 runs in 214 bats last season.