Braves' Andrelton Simmons May Be The Best Shortstop In The Majors

24-Year Old In Action In Atlanta's Loss To Padres Sunday

Monday, September 16, 2013 - by Tim Evearitt

It was a pleasure watching Braves' shortstop Andrelton Simmons in action Sunday afternoon at Turner Field. In this sequence of photos, Simmons makes two routine plays -- the second of a ground ball that third baseman Chris Johnson watches

A recent article by Jeff Passan at Yahoo sports had this to say:

Stitched in cursive on Andrelton Simmons' glove are two words: "God Given.

" If his highlight page were to showcase his next incredible play with "Simmons, God Given," that might be the only palatable three-word phrase to do him justice.

He realizes this, too. Simmons turned 24 a little more than a week ago, and ever since he signed with the Braves as a second-round pick out of Western Oklahoma State, he has been told his talent in the field is preternatural. Most teams liked Simmons as a pitcher – he threw 98 mph as a closer for the junior college that recruited him out of Curacao – but the Braves recognized an up-the-middle lottery ticket is far likelier to hit jackpot than another hard-throwing arm.

Simmons arrived in the majors last season with the reputation as the next great shortstop, and as much hype hangs on players upon their debuts, he was one of the few who exceeded it. And not just by a little, either. Braves first-base coach Terry Pendleton spent seven seasons playing third base alongside the greatest fielding shortstop ever, Ozzie Smith.

"And that's where this kid's getting to," Pendleton said. "The rest of us ooh and ahh about it. But I'm to the point now where when he doesn't do something I'm more surprised. And the kid's only got a year in the big leagues.

"He just has a knack for it. And you see when something else goes on, he's always thinking about the next thing. Or there's a play over here and he's thinking about what he can do with it. And those are the things that I watched Ozzie Smith do. And I'm quite sure, at Ozzie's age, he's doing the same thing."

For Simmons, it is just … him. He doesn't know how he slides, pops up and throws in one motion. Maybe it's the soccer he played from age 13 on – the game that taught him how to tackle and nearly stole him away from baseball full-time. He's not certain why he can always approach a ball exactly where he must.

PHOTOS: CCS, Silverdale In Thanksgiving Hoops Tournament

Chattanooga Christian wrapped up their Thanksgiving weekend basketball tournament Saturday night with boys and girls games against Silverdale. Lookout Valley and Lakeview Ft. Oglethorpe also participated. (click for more)

Lee Men Fall To Palm Beach Atlantic 68-66

The Lee men’s basketball team came up just short in a 68-66 non-conference loss to Palm Beach Atlantic in the Valdosta State Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday afternoon. A day after winning in overtime to Coastal Georgia the Flames came up a shot short against the Sailfish despite a 21-point effort from CJ Reese. Jervon Johnson added 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point ... (click for more)

Fire Breaks Out At McKee Bakery Plant 2; Damage Listed At $15,000Propane Tanks Were Near Blaze

Fire broke out at a McKee Food plant at Collegedale on Saturday night. At 6:45 p.m. , an employee at McKee Foods called 911 call reporting a fire at McKee Foods Plant 2 located at 10260 McKee Dr. Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department responded and arrived on the scene reporting flames 15 feet high at one end of the building of Plant 2. According to fire officials, ... (click for more)

City Council To Consider Policy That Job Applicants Would Not Have To Reveal Criminal Records

The City Council on Tuesday night will consider a policy that city job applicants would not have to reveal their criminal past. Councilman Yusuf Hakeem cited problems those with felony records have in securing employment. The policy would go into effect by the first of the year. The resolution says: WHEREAS, the City of Chattanooga (the "City") is committed ... (click for more)

Lung Cancer, The Deadliest Cancer In The United States

This time of year, I remember to give thanks for my faith, my family and friends and my health. Recently, I learned that lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer in the United States; in fact, more Americans die each year from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. One in 13 men and one in 16 women will develop the disease in their lifetime. It’s important to learn about ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Can’t ‘Ban The Box’

I know a man who has over 20 former convicts from federal prisons who either work for him or who have retired with their dignity, pride, and self-worth restored. Better yet, I know some of them, men who have done “hard time” in prisons so wretched none of us would dare to go. So on the surface I applaud City Councilman Yusef Hakeem for seeing ways to get formerly incarcerated men ... (click for more)