Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Was Andrelton Simmons Worth Two Top Prospects?

I have to admit whenever a big trade goes down like the trade that sent the Atlanta Braves shortstop and MLB’s Defensive Player of the Year Andrelton Simmons to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for two top prospects I get a little bit of trade envy. I see Simmons, a defensive wizard, and I imagine an up-the-middle defense of Simmons and Gregorius and I salivate. Simmons isn’t a wizard with the bat by any means, and I think everyone knows where I stand as far as my preference and fandom towards Robert Refsnyder, but the defense is definitely intriguing. Once I get my head out of the clouds and back to a level playing field I start to wonder if New York could have pulled off a similar trade with Atlanta for a comparable package and whether the trade would be worth it.

For the sake of this post we’re going to 100% leave out Simmons’ offense and focus totally on his defense. That’s why Simmons was acquired, his glove not his bat, and that’s why he was so expensive. Using advanced metrics, I have seen tons of him live and on television living in Atlanta but I can understand that not everyone has the eye test at their disposal for Simmons, Simmons posted these key and overall trusted defensive metrics in 2015 and during his four season career with the Braves.

Using these key stats you can see that Simmons has a career average of 21.4 UZR/150 and a UZR of 68.4. Simmons has a career 11.8 WAR and a career 90.7 defense rating according to Fangraphs. Those are great until you look at his -40.6 offensive rating on Fangraphs but we said we're going to leave the offense out of it for this post. Simmons is great defensively but is defense only worth two top prospects and Erick Aybar? With the deep free agent market this season, probably not in my opinion. 

In conclusion, giving up two top prospects for a defensive only type middle infielder is the epitomy of over paying for a player in my opinion. Sure, Los Angeles could hope for a bump in his offensive stats but after 499 games and 1847 at bats in four years I think the sample size is conclusive enough. Simmons and his career .256/.304/.362 triple slash was acquired for his defense alone. Defense can be found elsewhere and is not, again in my opinion, worth your top two prospects. Even in a “bad” farm system like the Angels have. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)