The Atlanta Braves are known for their remarkable ability to draft, sign and develop talent and they look to have a strong farm system once again in 2012. While pitching prospects like Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino will undoubtably headline the list, 22-year old shortstop prospect Andrelton Simmons turned some heads this past season in his first full season.
After batting .311/.351/.408 with 35 doubles and 26 stolen bases in 2011, Simmons was named to MLB.com's top-10 shortstop prospect list.
9. Andrelton Simmons, Braves: Simmons had about as solid a first full season as you could ask for in 2011, playing at two levels while hitting for average, stealing bases and playing outstanding defense at short. The Curacao native is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, with a plus arm and range. He has offensive skills as well, with good bat speed and ability to make consistent contact. While Simmons doesn't strike out, he is a bit of a free swinger and he could tone that down some, along with his basestealing approach. Once that all comes together, starting this season at Double-A Mississippi, he could be a high-level everyday shortstop.
As mentioned in the article, Simmons will likely spend most of the 2012 season in Double-A ball, which is typically the biggest jump a baseball prospect has to make in his career. Should he continue to play well in both the field and at the plate, he could potentially be in line to be the starting shortstop in Atlanta by 2013 or 2014, depending on the play of Tyler Pastornicky.
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