When the LA Angels traded their top pitching prospect Sean Newcomb and veteran shortstop Erick Aybar to the Atlanta Braves for defensive wizard Andrelton Simmons in the winter of 2015 many people were skeptical.
However once Simmons got on the field for the LA Angels in 2016, many people saw why the Angels made the move. Simmons made an impact almost immediately as he made some defensive plays that were eye-popping in the first month of the season. Unfortunately for Simmons as was the theme of the year, he dislocated his thumb in early May and had to spend five weeks on the disabled list.
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Simmons however came back stronger than ever and continued to save Angels pitchers (who desperately needed it at times) with run-saving plays. What the Angels were not expecting so much was that Simmons would actually become a key cog in their offense over the last few months of the season. In the second half of the season Simmons hit .291 with three homers and 26 RBI’s. He also stole eight bases and had an OBP of .346.
Simmons finished the season with a .281 batting average with four homers, 44 RBI’s and 10 stolen bases. These are not monster numbers, but when you compare them to his career numbers they are much better than expected. Especially when you consider Simmons did this despite missing nearly 40 games.
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Simmons batting average was 20 point higher than his career average, and his OBP was 16 points higher than his career average. Simmons stole the most bases in season for his career and other than a short 2012 season where he only played 49 games, his batting average was a career best as well.
The big question is whether this trend will continue in 2017 and my answer is yes. I think Simmons is going to continue to get better as a hitter, especially with the line-up he has around him.
In Atlanta, Simmons did not have guys like Trout, Pujols, and Cron around him. This will only make Simmons better to be surrounded by two future Hall of Famers. So here is my projection for Simmons for 2017.
2017 Projections: .275 batting average with eight homers and 62 RBI’s with nine stolen bases.
I truly believe all his numbers will go up if Simmons stays healthy all season. In addition he is now more familiar with the AL pitchers which should make his numbers go up as well.
I believe that Andrelton Simmons will be a key player for the Angels for years to come and will help them to get back to the promise land.