Sunday, March 11, 2012

Custom Cards: 1992 Fleer Prospects Andrelton Simmons

  Braves fans certainly remember a rookie shortstop who impressed the Braves' brass so much with his play during the spring of 2000, that the team decided to go with the 19-year old (well, come to find out he was really 22) as it's opening day shortstop- despite him having never played a game above high-A ball. Rafael Furcal went on to win the 2000 N.L. Rookie of the Year award, hitting .295 while stealing 40 bases.

  Like Furcal, the "Curacao Kid" Andrelton Simmons has been blessed with a cannon for an arm, has incredible range, and is a slick fielder. Simmons also, like Furcal, has never played above high-A, spending last year at Lynchburg- where he won the Carolina League batting title as a twenty-two year old. Coming into this season, all indications were that Simmons would start the year at Double-A Mississippi while another rookie, Tyler Pastornicky, would be anointed the starter on the major league team. Pastornicky, whose professional experience includes only 104 at-bats above AA (and none in the majors), has struggled this spring both at the plate and in the field. Simmons is major league ready as a fielder now (and superior to Pastornicky in that department), and may offer just as much at the plate as the Rev, so don't be surprised if Atlanta decides to go with Simmons over Pastornicky, should the latter's struggles continue. Mark Bowman on Braves.com has a great piece on this here.

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