Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons established himself as one of the game's elite defenders during his first full season in 2013. Not only was Simmons rewarded with a Gold Glove by a combination of voting from his peers and manager, as well as a new sabermetric component introduced by Rawlings’, he was also voted the top overall defensive player in the National League by the fans.
He reminded the baseball world why both were deserved on Wednesday night.
In the second inning of their 4-3 win over the New York Mets, Simmons showed off his impressive range by going deep into the hole to flag down Travis d'Arnaud’s grounder. Then, after slipping and falling on his backside, he recovered to show off his ridiculously powerful throwing arm by uncorking a perfect strike from one knee to complete the out at first base.
Granted, it was a catcher running down the line, which improved his odds of making the play. But generally once a shortstop loses his footing on the outfield grass, they’ll eat the baseball and then signal "my bad" while flipping the ball back to the pitcher.
Not Andrelton Simmons.
He was determined to finish the play regardless of the result, and the seemingly unlimited arm strength he’s been gifted with turned it into an out.
Under the circumstances, Simmons probably wouldn't label it his prettiest play. It certainly wasn't an all around gem like the jump throw we saw from Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki last week, but it was impressive nonetheless, and a reminder to all opponents that any baseball hit in his vicinity should not be taken for granted. Simmons has the range and he possesses the arm strength, but perhaps the most important blurb on his scouting report should be that he refuses to give up on plays.
If you need any further evidence of that, check out the video below.
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