Andrelton Simmons Will Not Be The Leadoff Man Anytime Soon

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Updated: April 29, 2017

In 2013 Andrelton Simmons was in the leadoff spot for the Atlanta Braves more often than not. As is the case presently, Simmons was every bit as quick, light on his feet, and solid at putting the ball in play as anyone around him.

However, as 2013 progressed, Simmons’ numbers declined in a dramatic way. His OBP melted below the .300 mark in the later stages of July. This is not particularly sexy for any leadoff hitter given that they are expected to set the table for the hitters behind them. When he was dropped in the order, though, things gradually got better for Simmons the rest of the way.

When the past is not reflected on, it is worth looking at the Angels’ leadoff situation. They happen to have a struggling individual of their own in Yunel Escobar. Although Escobar catapulted the Halos to a quick 1-0 lead in yesterday’s game, he has been cold for a good couple weeks. As a result, his OBP resides at a mere .286. This is not too flashy of a number for a guy who is expected to get on base for what is one of the game’s very best 2-3-4 punches. Some may say “well, it’s still April.” That excuse is too dry at this point. It’s a phrase that is resorted too way too often.

On the other hand, Simmons’ production better aligns with what is expected from a typical leadoff hitter. He presently has 10 walks and carries more hits than anyone else on the team outside of the monster that dwells out in centerfield. Moreover, Simba also has a pair of stolen bases. Conversely, Escobar has not even managed to swipe one base so far in 2017. Thus, it makes one curious as to whether Simmons should take over Yunel’s leadoff duties. Even if the odds of that actually happening are insanely low.

J.P. Hoornstra of The Orange County Register has all the latest regarding this inquiry. Based on what Manager Mike Scioscia believes, Simmons will not be batting first anytime soon.

“‘I think Andrelton’s really comfortable where he is,’” Scioscia said.

Scioscia also mentions that Simmons’ ability to make contact is just as crucial as anything else. Because of where Simmons typically is in the lineup, it gives Simba the opportunity to drive in guys. He has done just that so far in 2017. He may “only” have 7 RBIs right now. In spite of that, Simmons has made far better contact with the ball this year than was the case in 2016.

“‘Ideally, when he’s swinging the bat as well as he is right now, you’d want to try to get some guys on base (ahead of) him, let him hit, and hopefully get him some opportunities to knock in some runs,’ Scioscia said. ‘He puts the ball in play so often and handles a variety of pitches — he’s not just one-dimensional in the batter’s box — he’s going to put the ball in play and find a hole.’”

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