PHILADELPHIA -- The Braves knew from the start shortstop Andrelton Simmons could field. What no one knew was if he could hit consistently at the Major League level.
In just over two Minor League seasons, his highest level being Double-A Mississippi, Simmons hit .309 (284-for-920) with three home runs and six triples. To be sure, that's a small sample at the Minor League level, and no one knows that better than Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
"He's stronger than he looks," Gonzalez said. "I look at what he can do and who knew? He saw some time at Double-A. He's got a ton of room to grow."
Simmons entered Thursday's game hitting .333 with two home runs, two triples and six RBIs. Even more impressive, after 45 plate appearances, he was the only player with 30 or more trips to the plate who hadn't struck out. This a day after Cliff Lee fanned 13 Braves hitters.
More importantly, Simmons is a part of the lower half of the Braves' lineup, with Evan Gattis and Dan Uggla, that produced all 10 runs in two wins over the Phillies, including six home runs.
"How about the bottom end of our lineup," Gonzalez said on Wednesday. "They're doing a heck of a job."
Michael Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.