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2020 Angels in review: Andrelton Simmons

A season cut short on multiple fronts

MLB: SEP 13 Angels at Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Andrelton Simmons’ fifth season in Anaheim was marred by injury, and ended suddenly in with the shortstop opting out of the final week of the season.

Simmons is one of the best defensive shortstops of all-time. He led MLB in Defensive bWAR from 2013-2020, and the highest FanGraphs defensive rating among non-catchers during the same period. He’s a four-time Gold Glove winner, and led major league shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved four times and finished second twice more. His total DRS from 2013-19 (+174) is more than double the next-best shortstop (Nick Ahmed, +76).

But during the first series of the 2020 season, Simmons beat out an infield single in Oakland, but sprained his ankle in the process, an injury that would sideline him for 22 games. The injury affected him in the field, where Simmons rated two runs below average in Defensive Runs Saved, and his Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games (4.0) was less than a quarter of his career rate (17.0).

“Not playing 100 percent hurts what I can do, but I know what I bring to the table every day,” Simmons said in September. “If it’s experience, if it’s just being aware of what’s going on, if it’s making plays, I know what I can do, and I have no doubt in my mind I can do it.”

After a down year offensively in 2019, Simmons’ numbers at least nominally improved in his 30 games in 2020, hitting .297/.346/.356 with seven doubles. But his batted-ball numbers were pretty bad, his 86.5-mph average exit velocity his lowest since 2015, with zero barrels all year. His expected batting average was .241 and his .284 expected slugging percentage was 11th-lowest among MLB players with 100 plate appearances.

This was the final season of Simmons’ contract, originally signed with the Braves, and in September with his free agency pending, the 31-year-old said he wanted to play shortstop for another 8-10 years.

Just one week later, with the Angels surging — winning 12 of 18 games — but still 3½ games out of a playoff berth with five games to play, Simmons opted out of the remainder of the season.

“At this moment, I feel like this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Simmons in five years with the Angels hit .281/.328/.394, a 97 wRC+, and his 15.4 fWAR ranks 20th among position players in franchise history, with the fewest games played of anyone in the top 20.

2020 particulars

Age: 30

Stats: .297/.346/.356, 99 wRC+, 7 doubles, 30 games, 0.6 fWAR

Salary: $15 million

Game of the year

Simmons doubled twice, scoring once and driving in a run on September 5 in a 10-9 Angels win in the first game of a doubleheader against the Astros.

Roster status

Simmons is a free agent.