Many of you remember when one of the Angels top pitching prospects, Sean Newcomb, was traded to the Braves for Andrelton Simmons. Some of you were probably not pleased. At the time, Simmons was coming of a season hitting .265 and the prior year had hit only .244. His OBP wasn’t much better at .321 the year before the trade and .286 the year before that.
But still - that defense!! Simmons won a gold glove in 2013 and 2014 so the Angels were getting a young shortstop with HUGE defense. The offense was just a bonus if we got it - right?
Fast forward to Simons as an Angel when he had the best year of his career in 2016 with a .281/.324/.366 slashline. In 2017 he won another gold glove and slashed .278/.331/.421. This guy just kept getting better, and NOW we have what he has been doing so far in 2018 and it’s just ridiculous when you look at the numbers.
First, the basic stuff. Simmons is leading the Angels in batting average (though Trout is still tops in OBP), he has as many extra base hits as Justin Upton, and he’s stuck out a team low 10 times with 22 walks. Simmons has more than TWICE the number of walks than strikeouts.
Simmons also has the 5th best average in the AL and the fewest Ks in all of baseball among hitters with more than 100 ABs. His walk to K ratio also leads all of baseball at 2.20 with the next closest being Jose Ramirez at 1.29. Another interesting stat is how well Simmons can put the bat on the ball. He’s 5th best at 79.2% when it comes to out of zone contact and is 147th in out of zone swings so he’s not doing it often, but when he does he connects more than most. Simmons overall contact rate is the best in baseball at 89.4% and his whiff rate is only 4.4% which is the 3rd best overall.
But wait - it gets better. Let’s take a look at how good Simmons is when he has 2 strikes. Hitting with 2 strikes is a skill that is lost to many in baseball today. Look no further than the skyrocketing K rates to see that is true.
With two strikes, Andrelton Simmons bats .419 with a .511 OBP. That means Simmons gets on base MORE THAN HALF THE TIME when he has two strikes. That is insane. Last year, for the entire season, Joey Votto had a .411 OBP on 2 strike counts and Mike Trout was 3rd with .375. Votto, who often leads the league in 2 strike count hitting, is the only player with an OBP over .400 (.407 in 2015) since 2012 on 2 strike counts. Sure it’s only 2 months into the season, but those Simmons numbers are rarified air.
Take a look at this data below ranked by OBP. No one is even close to Simmons
Simmons also has a wRC+ of 205 with 2 strikes - beating out Mookie Betts and his BB/K ratio on 2 strike counts is 1.4 with the second best being Denard Span at 0.7.
All this data is on ALL two strike counts. When Simmons is behind and has 2 strikes (0-2 and 1-2), he is again best in baseball with a .439 OBP and .418 average.
These numbers are absolutely crazy and at least to this point in the season, Simmons is easily the best 2 strike hitter in baseball. You all knew he was good, but I’m not sure we all knew he was THIS GOOD.
All of this and he could not make the All Star Game in a crowded shortstop field that includes Manny Machado, Francisco Lindor, Jean Segura, and Carlos Correa. We all know how good Simmons’ defense is and now we know how good his offense is. It would be a HUGE shame on baseball to not include him in the Mid Summer Classic.
Simmons’ clutch 0-2 count RBI single in the 9th inning:
Maybe whenever Simmons goes up to the plate he should just ask if he can have 2 strikes on him??