When the LA Angels traded away their top two starting pitcher prospects for a defensive-minded, poor-hitting shortstop, fans immediately began questioning new general manager Billy Eppler.
However, ever since Andrelton Simmons took the field for the first time with the LA Angels, he has been another reason for fans to go to The Big A. Prior to his arrival, the losing Angels had one reason for fans to come out: Mike Trout. Occasionally Albert Pujols would approach a milestone and fans would travel in hopes of seeing that live, but that was rare.
After Andrelton Simmons arrived though, the LA Angels fans had another reason to watch every game they could, no matter how far down the standings the team fell. The best defensive player of this generation was a breath of fresh air in Anaheim, and his game improved the second he arrived.
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A career .256 hitter at the time of the trade, Simmons went on to hit .281 in his first season with the Angels. A change in his feet during his swing was all it required, and Simmons slowly became an above-average hitter for the Angels. While he won’t terrorize opponents with any elite power, he has worked his way into the conversation of truly elite shortstops in the MLB. There are shinier names, sure, but when it all boils down Simmons is right there with the best in the entire league.
One of the best stretches of Simmons’ Angels career thus far was when Mike Trout went down with an injury in 2017 with a thumb injury for months. During that time, Simmons became the catalyst of the Halo offense, slashing .303/.346/.500 in the 38 games that Trout missed over the summer. In addition to him morphing into a slugger, he also stole nine bases for the Angels. For his efforts, he was named as Team MVP alongside Trout in 2017, the only time in Trout’s career that another player has earned that title.
Andrelton Simmons has become a part of the Angels’ inner circle. It isn’t just Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. It is Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Andrelton Simmons. While the future of Simba in Anaheim is uncertain as he’s set to be a free agent a year from now, the mark he has left on the Angels organization is legendary. When he is welcomed into the Baseball Hall of Fame (yes, he deserves to be a Hall of Famer), here’s to hoping that he’ll be donning an Angels cap on his bust.