Who will make the Los Angeles Angels opening day roster?

By David Rice
4 of 9

Shortstop –

So how do you replace a legend (Erick Aybar), you get another legend in return (Andrelton Simmons). While calling either former Angels shortstop Erick Aybar or new Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons legends is a major stretch, as far as the Angels go the moniker fits.

Aybar was an above average shortstop for the Los Angeles Angels making many eye-popping plays defensively while also being very solid at the plate hitting .276 with 48 home runs and driving in 417 runs and stealing 141 bases.  Aybar also had a .973 fielding percentage which is solid for a shortstop and many of his errors came on throws after making unbelievable stops.

As for Simmons his career has been much shorter than Aybar’s 10 seasons in the majors as he has only played three and a half season in the big leagues for the Atlanta Braves.  He has hit 31 HR’s including 17 in his first full season and has driven in 168 runs both slight improvements from Aybar. His batting average is .256 which is 20 points lower then the former Angels shortstop and he also has stolen only 16 bases which is much lower than Aybar’s numbers.  However the big difference is in his glove work as he has a .983 fielding percentage and has saved 113 runs in his career according to the new runs saved metric.

So how has Simmons done so far this Spring?  He has been as advertised making numerous slick plays at shortstop and he has also hit very well batting .306 this Spring with one homer and driving in four runs while also stealing two bases.  While this is only a small sample-size I believe it is a sign of things to come for the Angels.

As for any competition for playing time at short Simmons has none.  The only true shortstop the Angels have in the minors is Cuban prospect Roberto Baldoquin who was impressive in limited time this Spring, but is still multiple years away from cracking thee Angels roster.

The only people who will probably see any action at short this season (barring injury) are the before mentioned utility players Cliff Pennington and possibly Rey Navarro but that will probably only be to give Simmons the day off as it definitely will not be as a late-inning defensive replacement.

Roster Spots SS – 1

Next: The hot corner gets a facelift, too.