Ranking The NL East: Shortstops

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Sep 17, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves shortstop

Andrelton Simmons

(19) starts a double play against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

2. Andrelton Simmons (Atlanta Braves)

 For the Braves’ second round pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, defense has been his main claim to fame. There are plenty of highlight reels that show the fantastic plays the two-time Gold Glove winner makes on a nightly basis. The 25-year-old turned the most double plays in the National League last season (99) and has shown great range despite having 14 errors each of the past two seasons.

There is only one thing that is holding Simmons from reaching his potential and maybe making him the best shortstop in the division. That is his offense. In the last two seasons, Simmons has hit below .250, including a career low .244 last season. In the second half of last season, the man from the Netherlands Antilles hit .209 with two home runs and 16 RBI’s. Keep in mind that in 2013, Simmons did hit 17 home runs, so it isn’t as if the power numbers can’t happen for him.

If you want to look at Simmons from a sabermetric perspective, his WAR of 3.5 last season was second among NL East shortstops behind Ian Desmond’s 3.8. The Braves need Simmons to find his offensive rhythm from 2013, or at leasr get on base. His on-base percentage of .286 was the second lowest among shortstops in the NL (Zack Cozart of the Reds was the worst).

With Atlanta looking to become a contender again when they open their new ballpark in 2016, they will need Simmons to continue his progression as one of the core members of that franchise. For now, his great defensive work puts him at number two on this list.

Next: Number One