By Corey R. Cunningham
The early battling began this season in March, when the Atlanta Braves had an opening at the SS position, and not only an opening but a starting position. The top two candidates for the position were Tyler Pastornicky, and Andrelton Simmons.
Pastornicky was the favorite coming into camp, just due to his progression in the minors, where Simmons reached only High-A in 2011. Pastornicky was announced as the winner and the opening day SS for the Braves. Pastornicky played in 45 games for the Braves, and had little to no production in those 45 games. Pastornicky had a .248 BA, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 17 R, and 2 SB. As of now, he has played in 8 games in AAA Gwinnett and is only batting .182 with 3 R, 6 H, and 3 SO. Tyler had only 6 multi hit games while in a Braves uniform, and therefore had seen a demotion forthcoming.
Andrelton Simmons received the call up, and Manager Freddy Gonzalez had nothing but praise for the young man, who has the potential to be a great leadoff hitter for the Braves. Simmons does not bring much power to the plate, however he does have great plate discipline and outstanding defense.
While in AA Mississippi he played 43 games, for a total of 171 AB, 50 H, 28 R, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 10 SB, 20 BB, 20 SO, and a .292 BA. Since being promoted in just 6 games with the Braves, Simmons already has 2 multi hit games, and is batting .286 with 3 RBI, and 2 R.
The Braves are 5-1 since Andrelton joined the Braves, and I believe at least for the remainder of the time, Simmons has secured the job in Atlanta, since the Braves are winning, Simmons is hitting, and with Pastornicky putting no pressure to get back up anytime soon, no reason to move Simmons out of the starting SS gig.