We all know that there were some very impressive rookies who debuted in 2012. What is their outlook for 2013? Can we expect them to take a step forward? Will they fall into fantasy irrelevancy? Over the next few weeks we’ll be breaking them all down and reaching some conclusions.
Let’s kick things off with Braves’ shortstop Andrelton Simmons. The 22-year old (he turned 23 in early September) fared fairly well in his first taste of Major League baseball after making the jump from Double-A:
166 At Bats
.289 Batting Average (48 Hits)
3 Home Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.335 On Base Percentage
.416 Slugging Percentage
.310 Batting Average on Balls in Play
At this point in Simmons’ career he has two potential things working for him, speed and average.
He doesn’t offer much in the way of power, as evidenced both in the Majors and minor leagues (6 total home runs in 930 AB in the minors). He did have a total of 42 extra base hits at Single-A in 2011 (35 doubles, 6 triples, 1 home run), so there is at least a little bit of potential.
However, it’s hard to go into 2013 expecting him to hit much more than 8-10 HR, and that’s an optimistic outlook. With a 55.8% groundball rate, it is rather tough to hit a significant number of home runs.
That obviously takes out his opportunity to drive in many runs and, depending on what happens with the Braves lineup, he likely will spend a lot of time hitting towards the bottom of the lineup and not scoring runs. He spent the bulk of his time in 2012 hitting seventh (41 AB) and eighth (106 AB). There’s a chance that he hits leadoff, but that all depends on the roster movement (Michael Bourn is a free agent so we will have to wait and see if he returns or if the team brings in an alternative for the top of the order). At this point in time, I wouldn’t go into the season expecting it.
That leaves speed and average, as I said initially. He has stolen as many as 26 bases in a season (on 44 attempts), so we know he has that type of upside. With maturity, it’s not unrealistic to think that he could steal 25+ bases if given the opportunity in 2013.
He also could hit for a good average. Couple his speed with an ability to make consistent contact (11.5% strikeout rate), and there is no reason to think that he doesn’t have .300+ average upside. He puts the ball on the ground and uses his speed, that’s certainly what we want to see.
However, does the potential for a good average and no guarantee for stolen bases make a high upside option? He is going to be worth drafting in the later rounds, because of his upside ability, but I wouldn’t plan on drafting him as a starting option at this point. Barring a significant change, he will enter 2013 as a middle infielder, at best, and more of a bench option.
What are your thoughts on Simmons for 2013? Do you think he has significant upside? What type of production are you expecting?
Make sure to check out our extremely early 2013 rankings: