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Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons draws praise for his 2012 campaign

Talking Chop is impressed with Simmons' output in his rookie campaign and sees a bright future for the shortstop.

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

With the 2012 season in the rearview mirror, Talking Chop dissected the performances out of the all-important shortstop position in a season that saw an opening at the spot headed in to the year.

Tyler Pastornicky and Andrelton Simmons vied for the spot headed in to 2012, with Pastornicky getting the nod until the middle of May, when the Braves gave Simmons a chance at the position, and saw immediate production.

Andrelton Simmons ... didn't wait too long to have an impact. He debuted June 2 and recorded a three-hit game just two days later. He immediately proved to be an upgrade defensively while showing exceptional range.

Simmons's strong performance as spring turned to summer was cut short when he broke a finger sliding into second base, setting off a string of injuries to Braves shortstops.

Veteran shortstop Jack Wilson filled in for all of two games before he was hurt with a dislocated finger. The team was hesitant to reinsert Pastornicky at shortstop, so Martin Prado filled in briefly until a trade was pulled off for Reds infielder Paul Janish.

The Braves' playoff push was helped along by Janish's strong defensive play, as the veteran committed only two errors in 55 games. Janish's play also allowed Simmons all the time he needed to rehab his finger.

Looking forward, Talking Chop was confident that Simmons was the man of the future at the spot.

Simmons still has some rough edges, but has all but assured himself the starting shortstop position in 2013. Pastornicky may be kept as a bench bat and utility player while Janish enters his first year of arbitration.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.