As soon as Andrelton Simmons burst onto the scene in 2012 he was heralded as the next Braves’ defensive great at shortstop. Now almost halfway through the 2013 season, it appears as though Simmons was as good as advertised.

ESPN recently named Simmons the Defensive Player of the Month for June. This is the second consecutive month Simmons has received the award and the third time this season.

“My defense is my priority,” Simmons said. “I work on it every day and I take pride in my defense. I try to make every play when I’m out there.”

According to ESPN statistics , Simmons had 13 defensive runs saved for the month of June, the most of any player in the majors. The next closest shortstop is Alcides Escobar with six.

“Chances are, I’m going to make an error every once in awhile, but I try hard to make all the plays I can and help out my pitcher,” Simmons said.

Simmons has totaled 24 defensive runs saved this season, which according to ESPN is more than the combined totals of the second, third and fourth highest totals among shortstops.

Simmons is starting to heat up on the offensive side as well. After a rough start to June, Simmons is 6-for-22 (.273), with a triple, a home run and four RBIs in the last seven games, including driving in the first run of the Braves 6-3 loss to the Marlins.

“I don’t care if [Simmons] is hitting .230, he still gives us the best chance to win because of his defense,” said Braves general manager Fredi Gonzalez. “Its hard to quantify how many runs [Simmons] saves a game but you know he makes a difference.”

The Braves will wrap up its three-game series tonight at Turner Field and then travel to Philadelphia to face the Phillies in a three-game set.

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