Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/2/12

Shortstop Andrelton Simmons had a 14-pitch at bat Sunday versus Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez, fouling off nine pitches -- eight in a row -- before drawing a walk. Monday, he was named rookie of the month for June.

Simmons made the jump from Class AA Mississippi on June 2 because of his eye-popping defense. But in the 27 games he's played since then, he has 10-multi-hit games, which leads the team. He didn't have a hit in Monday's 4-1 loss to the Cubs but he did have his first career steal after a walk. He then sped to third base on a wild pitch.

With the Braves in June, he hit safely in 18 of 26 games played, batting .333 with 10 runs scored, three home runs and 14 RBIs.

Named the organizational player of the year for High Class A Lynchburg last season, he hit .311, the only Carolina League hitter to top .300. In the week just before he was called up to the Braves, he was named Southern League player of the week.

All along, general manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez have said anything Simmons does offensively is gravy. But they aren't sorry he's producing, obviously, even if they're surprised by it.

It's rare for a player to bat so-so in the minors and then catch fire in the majors. But it also happened when catcher Brian McCann made the same jump from Class AA. McCann was called up in an emergency situation, because of injuries. Since then he has collected five Silver Slugger awards.

While Simmons says the difference between the majors and the Southern League is that, "these guys are smarter," McCann heaps praise on Simmons for his maturity and focus.

"He expects to be here," McCann saya. "He expects to produce at a high level. He's a big-time athlete.

"I don't think there's much he can't do. When you're an athlete, you make adjustments. You learn on the fly. Guys like that usually have great careers."

But how can this kid, known for his defense, be hitting so well?

"Everything's magnified here," McCann says. "You show up every day (in the majors) and it's different than when you show up to Pearl, Miss. Every game matters. In the minor leagues, more or less, you're trying to get to the next level. It's not necessarily about wins. It's just a different feel.

"This guy's going to play in the big leagues for as long as he wants just playing defense. And he rakes. You put those two things together and you've got a recipe for a superstar."

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