May 31, 2012 at 1:15 am by David Lee under Atlanta Braves, Transactions
Andrelton Simmons has been called up to the majors and will make his major league debut Friday in Washington.
Tyler Pastoricky has been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. The Simmons era begins this weekend.
Frank Wren acknowledged Pastornicky’s defense needs to improve, and while his offense has been about as expected – .248/.281/.324 with a .270 wOBA and 3.8 BB% – his defense just wasn’t good enough for him to stick. Looking beyond the errors and fielding percentage, Pastornicky’s range and arm limited his abilities and hindered an already weak infield defense. With below average defenders at every other position on the infield, the Braves need a plus defensive shortstop to survive, and Pastornicky can’t provide that.
But Simmons can. He’s rated as one of the best defensive shortstops in the minors and projects as plus now. He has a cannon, shows great range and gets to balls that Pastornicky never can. It’s simply a matter of Simmons saving the team runs on defense.
Offensively, nothing should change. Simmons has seemingly taken a step forward at the plate in Double-A, hitting .299/.380/.431 with a .383 wOBA and 10.2 BB%, so he is proving his bat is more than just an empty batting average at one of the toughest levels to do so. But he will again face a different level now, and expecting anything more than what Pastornicky provided at the plate right now might be too much to ask.
But that’s the point of the move. The Braves probably won’t sacrifice anything at the plate while upgrading their shortstop defense from a Pinto to a Bugatti. I see no reason why the move should not have been made.