The Angels have 2 of the most dynamic players in baseball: Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Trout is undisputedly the best player in the game and likely going to be a top 10 player all-time when it’s all said and done. Ohtani is the first player since Babe Ruth, to consistently hit and pitch in the same year. Yet, when people talk about the Angels, Andrelton Simmons is often not in the discussion for the 2nd best player on the team but that’s exactly what he is.
In the past 3 years, Simmons ranks 4th among all shortstop in fWAR. In the last 2 seasons, he’s had back-to-back 5-win seasons. Early in his career, Simmons was a below average hitter but a defensive master. While he was on the Braves, Simmons only had one season with average wOBA and wRC+. But he had 4 seasons where he above 20 defensive runs saved and an impressive 15.4 dWAR according to baseball reference.
The easiest comparison was Ozzie Smith. Simmons was better offensively than Ozzie, early on his career and he was actually better defensively too as Smith had a lower dWAR through their first 4 seasons. So, early in his career, Simmons was better than the Hall of Famer Smith.
Since joining the Angels, Simmons has become slightly above league average offensively. Simmons has had about a 104 wRC+ and .323 wOBA in his time with the Angels. In 2018, he had the best offensive season of his career. Hitting .292 with 164 hits in 146 games. With a .326 wOBA and 109 wRC+. He’s still incredible defensively, with 53 defensive runs saved over the last 2 seasons. Though defensive runs saved are a new stat (started tracking in the 2000s), Simmons is already 2nd all-time behind Adrian Beltre. His 25.3 dWAR is 7 points higher than Ozzie Smith during his first 7 years. At this rate, Simmons will pass Ozzie Smith as the all-time leader in the dWAR in about 6 seasons. At 29 years old, Simmons should be playing well beyond that time.
Simmons is getting better offensively and could be primed for a breakout year on that side of the ball. Defensively, he is one of the greatest defensive players of all time. We are watching a hall of fame shortstop and people don’t appreciate him. He’s had 0 all-star appearances in his career. His lack of offensive numbers is the main reason for that but this may finally be the year he gets some love. He’s played in an era of great shortstops and that has hurt him with regards to all-star selections. However, nobody can do what he does at that position defensively.
Simmons is exceptional and it’s time we begin to appreciate what we are watching. I hope he gets more recognition as we move through 2019 and for years to come.
Here’s to you Andrleton Simmons, a defensive wizard whose name should be more known!