A.J. Simcox to Help Tennesse Rebound in 2014

Tennessee Baseball A.J. Simcox was one of the brighter spots on a Tennessee Volunteers team that boasted one of the youngest rosters in the country with a NCAA-high 18 true freshmen.

Although Tennessee finished the regular season with the second worst conference record at 8-20, the Volunteers were able to garner key valuable experience under the guidance of second-year head coach Dave Serrano, as they displayed signs of improvement as the season progressed.

As a high school senior, the Tennessee sophomore out of Farragut High School in Knoxville was a Baseball America Second-Team All-American and was rated as the top prep prospect in the state of Tennessee by Perfect Game.

Simcox possessed the talent worthy of an early round selection, but saw his draft stock fall significantly due to his commitment to Tennessee, as he was ultimately drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 32nd round of the 2012 MLB Draft.

Simcox opened his Tennessee career this past February by collecting a hit in each of his first three games, as the freshman shortstop would go 5-for-15 against the UNLV Rebels in Nevada.

Overall, Simcox would turn in a solid freshman campaign, batting .283 (51-for-180) with 26 RBI and a respectable OBP of .338.

However, Simcox was able to shine even brighter over the summer as a member of the Matsu Miners of the Alaksa League. Simcox was impressive in his summer stint, leading the league with a .356 batting average and finishing amongst the top five leaders in OBP (.403) and SLG (.422), and was heralded by coaches around the league as the best pure hitter.

For his exploits with the Miners, Simcox was selected as a Summer Collegiate Baseball All-American by Perfect Game and named Baseball America’s top prospect of the Alaska League.

In terms of talent, Simcox has the tools (and with the proper development) to be a potential first-round selection in the 2015 draft.

He has a solid, athletic frame (6-3, 185) that he will be able to further grow into down the line and a great plate approach that is highlighted by impressive patience, pitch recognition, and hand-eye coordination.

For the time being, Simcox has showcased a line-drive bat path, wherein he is able to drive the ball to all fields and has more recently been able to turn on the ball to generate solid power in the gap.

Although he does not boast a flashy glove at short, he projects to stick at the position at the next level due to his great lateral agility, sure hands, a cannon of an arm, and the ability to consistently execute the fundamentals and make the right plays.

Simcox has the approach, instincts, and skill set to become one of the better shortstops in college baseball this coming season, which will only increase his draft stock down the road.

As fall practice continues on and the 2014 season approaches in four months time, Simcox looks ahead and will attempt to help lead the Volunteers towards their first winning season since 2010.

About the Author

Josh Vadeboncoeur
Follow Josh on Twitter @vadeboncoeurCBC Josh is currently a student at the University of Florida pursuing a Master of Science degree in Sport Management. He’s an avid fan and scholar of the game, who although has a place in his heart for his Gators, is as objective as they come. Josh is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, giving him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy, Regional Players of the Year, and NCBWA All-America voting. Josh’s knowledge of the game of baseball ranges from the post-Civil War baseball boom to the current modern era, covering topics such as business and politics of the game to the minor leagues to negro league baseball and even international expansion. But most of all, a strong passion lies in his heart for college baseball.