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February 21, 2014

Transaction Analysis

Simmons' Rights

by Sam Miller


ATLANTA BRAVES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Agreed to extension with SS-R Andrelton Simmons for seven years and $58 million. [2/20]

In 2013, PECOTA projected Andrelton Simmons to produce 2.9 WARP. This year, PECOTA projects him to produce 4.3 WARP—to be, in fact, the 14th-best player in the game, tied with Buster Posey. It takes a lot to make PECOTA change its mind so dramatically in just one year, but Simmons did a lot: He had a season that, statistically, might qualify as the greatest defensive performance of all-time (and, certainly, qualifies as one of the greatest). More importantly, he had a season that showed he could hit, and that suggested strongly that he could hit even more. This isn’t really an MVP candidate, because MVP votes aren’t the same as WAR leaderboards, but this is an Internet Baseball Awards Player of the Year candidate, with a skill set that should simultaneously make for a relatively low floor. He’s an impact player, a relatively sure thing, and totally affordable. There’s nothing not to like.

The floor
Colin Wyers was fond of saying that the aging curve for defense is a misnomer. Regarding two other young shortstops who would sign early extensions—Starlin Castro and Elvis Andrus—he wrote last spring that “the defensive aging curve is pretty much a straight slope down. I don't know if starting off from a really high point on defense changes the curve any.”

There have been, besides Simmons and Jean Segura, eight 25-or-under players who have produced a 20-FRAA season at shortstop. Flip ahead a few years and you can understand Colin’s gloom. Of the eight, five rated as negative defenders from ages 28 to 30. One of the eight, Troy Tulowitzki, is positive but has two years left to fall below 0. Only Ozzie Smith and Chris Speier, of the eight, remained impact defenders.

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Related Content:  Atlanta Braves,  Transactions

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