The Atlanta Braves may have penciled in Tyler Pastornicky to start at shortstop this season, but Andrelton Simmons and his slick defensive play has turned some heads and produced a chance that he could take the job.
Simmons has caused many to wonder if having a primarily plus-defender at shortstop would be adequate, particularly since Alex Gonzalez's batting average he is replacing was only .241. Everyone knows of his range and cannon arm, but whether he is ready for the big leagues at the plate is the biggest question.
"Just let them play," general manager Frank Wren said on braves.com. "Spring Training has a way of answering your questions for you, so we will continue to play games and watch and observe and let all of those things play out.
"So I think you just have to not be quick to make decisions based on a small sample size or a week or two of games. Sometimes you see things the first two weeks and you're saying, 'Wow.' Then another 10 days later, you're going, 'Oh OK, that's what we expected.'"
With Pastornicky and Simmons alternating starts at shortstop, things still have not made themselves clear. Though he won the Carolina League batting title last year, Simmons' batting average has dropped to .200. He also only has 839 professional plate appearances.
Pastornicky, on the other hand, has only hit .125 this spring and has committed three errors. Some may chalk that up as confirmation of his shaky defense, but he did say he felt more relaxed on Saturday, when he made three productive plate appearances.
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