Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons is taking on a new role batting lead-off for the Braves. But he said it’s not a “dramatic” or “uncomfortable” change because he’s done it before at lower levels and also because the basic goal remains the same.
“Get on base,” Simmons said. “You try to get on base if there is nobody on, you try to drive them in if they are at second or third. But let’s say (for example) with (Jason) Heyward behind me, I know if they are not going to pitch to me I don’t have to chase something because he will be able to do the job, too.”
Simmons, 23, batted eighth in the order for 106 of his 166 at-bats during his debut big-league season in 2012. Overall he hit .289 with a .335 on-base percentage and .751 OPS.
Simmons said he had to be more aggressive hitting in front of the pitcher. Now he’s at the top of the lineup with Heyward, Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman behind him.
“I don’t have to try to get on second with a swing or get on third,” he said. “I can just get on base and I’m going to get in with the next pitch because they are going to hit a home run or a ball deeper in the gap. It makes it easier for me.”
Atlanta Braves executives will return to work from their Thanksgiving travels Monday, still thankful for $300 million in public funding for a new stadium but aware that last week’s vote by the Cobb County Commission signaled the start of an unforgiving timetable to get the ballpark built by 2017.