The Jadeite Jewel: No Challenge for Simmons Here

Andrelton Simmons standing on a baseball field with a glove on his hand is a web gem waiting to happen, and this winter Braves Journal is going to determine which of his gems is the best of his best—his Jadeite. For the full rules, check out the introduction.

Round 1: Glove: Optional vs. Short Hop Maestro

Glove: Optional

Editor’s Pitch: In Minnesota this year, that will be a hit against Ervin Santana. Last year in Atlanta it was top of the 5th, one down. The catch itself is insane enough, with Simmons making the call to barehand it to give himself a chance to throw the runner out. Then, when the ball bounced slightly differently than he seemed to be anticipating, he stayed with it and nailed the runner with a perfect throw. Perfection on a diamond.

Short Hop Maestro

Editor’s Pitch: The throw is what makes this play stand out. While it’s impressive Simmons was able to stay with a short hop and catch it, his throw is beautiful. He not only throws it hard enough he nabs a quick runner, but he throws it to first while running toward third…without interrupting his stride. There’s no way that’s as easy as he makes it look.

68 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel: No Challenge for Simmons Here”

  1. Toughest choice of the whole exercise for me so far because his reaction is so perfect on the barehander. But the Short Hop Maestro is, like the knee-slide/pop-throw deep in the hole to get Paul Goldschmidt by 5 steps, a quintessence of Andrelton Simmons’ defense: aggressive, graceful, unassuming, agile, necessary. Gets my vote.

  2. Yeah, this one is really close. I went with the barehanded one because it’s more eye-popping, but I don’t think you could go wrong with either.

  3. @mlbtraderumors: Braves, Yankees Trade David Carpenter For Manny Banuelos

    The Yankees have acquired right-hander David Carpenter and left-hander Chasen Shreve from the Braves in exchange for righty Manny Banuelos, Jack Curry of the YES Network reports (Twitter link).

  4. Someone needs to help me out with this one. I think Banuelos is another former TJ victim. Carpenter and Shreve were two good cheap arms

  5. In 2012, Banuelos was ranked as high at the 12th best prospect in the Major Leagues. Yes, he’s had TJ, but will compete for the 5th starter spot. High risk/high reward seems to be the driving philosophical idea this offseason. Carpenter was expendable. I don’t like seeing Shreve gone, but you have to give to get.

  6. Honestly, team could be set now:

    Starting Pitchers: Teheran, Wood, Miller, Minor, Banuelos

    Relievers: Kimbrel, Grilli, J.Johnson, S. Simmons, Russell, Avilan, Hale (with Kohn and Vizzy still in the wings at AAA).

    Position Players: Freeman, Peterson, Simmons, Johnson, Markakis, BUpton, Gattis, Bethancourt

    Looks pretty lousy.
    Bench: Pierdoucheski, Callaspo, Gosselin, Almonte, Terdoslavich

  7. I like this move. Flipping relievers who are about to get more expensive for actual prospects is exactly what a team at our position on the competitive-cycle should be doing. And we filled up the bullpen with ex-closers already, who themselves can be flipped at the deadline if they show some stuff. If we catch lightning, those guys will bring real prospects, and if they don’t, they still might bring lottery tickets, and lottery tickets are where the David Carpenters of the world come from anyway.

  8. Pierdoucheski? I hope we haven’t given up on “Mr. Nice Guy” yet.

    God bless them, not influenced by the recency of Medlen and Beachy going under again. I can’t get a read on this offseason (though it’s pretty simple if you take out Markakis). Could add a left-fielder, could deal a “left-fielder”, not sure which would be more surprising.

  9. Happy New Year!

    I think Mac would love this Jadeite Jewel series. As I root for Alabama today, I know that there’s still one place on the web I can always go for a smile.

    Go Braves!

  10. I can’t get a read on this offseason (though it’s pretty simple if you take out Markakis).

    What does that tell you about Markakis?

    Agree that this is a good move, and if either of our beat writers could be bothered to do the obvious story with quotes from the front office on the Braves targeting post-TJ arms, that’d be great. Really, any time now, Peanut/DOB…

  11. Is there any reason why we shouldn’t go after Yoan Moncada now? We’ve got a full roster and are about $25M under budget? Need to add a few bench pieces also.

  12. @14 Are we sure they’re going reach last year’s number? Or even last year’s pre-Ervin number?

  13. DOB mentioned early this offseason that the budget would stay close to the $120 figure. We are about $88 right now. Doesn’t look like we will get close.

  14. @16 Hart said payroll would be north of 100MM, south of 120. Last reports were the Braves have about 12MM to spend and that was prior to 2/8MM agreement with Grilli. I’m not sure where you’re getting the 88MM csg, but our spreadsheet over at TT has the estimated payroll currently sitting between 93 and 94 million (after the Carpenter trade). Doing the math, If there’s 9MM to spend, which will make the total well south of 120.

  15. Ryan, I guess I didn’t have grilli in my calculations. However DOB put this out there after that signing.

    @DOBrienAJC: Can’t pinpoint since #Braves haven’t said firm payroll target, but guess about $20M “@MikeDomizioli: @DOBrienAJC how much $ left to spend?”

  16. Yeah, I recall that tweet and the same day, Peanut reported Braves have 12MM. On these types of guesses, I normally lean toward Peanut. However, I’d LOVE for DOB to be correct.

  17. I’d like to see the Braves spend whatever money is left signing the hitter-versions of Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson: Jonny Gomes type guys who tend to get traded at the deadline. Let’s just do the thing. Fill the roster with place-holder veterans and turn them in to depth and hope you catch some lightning.

  18. So uh…the second half of the Rose Bowl rated a 10 on the Massively Entertaining Schadenfreude Meter.

  19. So long, Carpenter…y’all remember this one?

    Voted for the short hop, although they’re both fantastic, as usual. The degree of difficulty just seemed slightly more over-the-top.

  20. Good win for Ohio State. I’m a Bama fan but deep down I never thought this was a National Championship team. Alabama’s secondary just wasn’t as good as it was in previous years. Sims at quarterback was also an amazing story but he just had a few too many times when he seemed to be completely off his game. Of course a very average offensive line didn’t help.

  21. @24 – I agree. I enjoyed that game a lot. I thought there for a minute that Oregon was just going to win. I’m glad they crushed FSU. 10 on the MESM.

    Good day for OSU. Good day for the Big 10. Sam, after Tech’s big win I think we should pop open a Keystone light and yell as loud as we can.

  22. @13 Thanks! I’ve had a blast sorting through the videos. It’s been a great way to spend the offseason.

  23. OSU is much better than I thought they’d be. I hope they get quacked as soundly as FSU did.

  24. Now that we’ve shipped off Chasen Shreve, I repeat: we need a LOOGY. Russell didn’t do anything against lefties last year, and Avilan’s a classic LNOGY.

  25. MinorLeagueBall’s top-20 Braves prospects BEFORE the Heyward trade:
    1. Peraza 2. Sims 3. Bethancourt 4. Albies 5. B.Davidsion
    6. Kubitza 7. Hursh 8. A. Grosser 9. S.Simmons 10. Martin
    11. Ma.Cabrera 12. Shreve 13. W. Perez 14. Graham 15. J.Camargo
    16. Wren 17. M. Povse 18. Fulenchek 19. V. Reyes 20. Daniel Castro

    Casualties of the list (3): J.R. Graham, Chasen Shreve, Kyle Wren
    Additions to the list (8): Tyrell Jenkins, Arodys Vizcaino, Jace Peterson, Max Fried, Dustin Peterson, Mallex Smith, Daniel Winkler, Manny Banuelos

    Prediction for new rankings:
    1. Peraza 2. Fried 3. Sims 4. Bethancourt (I hate this ranking) 5. Albies
    6. Banuelos 7. Jenkins 8. Kubitza 9. Hursh 10. Jace Peterson
    11.A. Grosser 12.S.Simmons 13. Daniel Winkler 14. M.Smith 15. Martin
    16. Ma. Cabrera 17. W. Perez 18. D.Peterson 19. Camargo 20. Povse

    Ya know, that list isn’t so shabby.

  26. Did you leave off Braxton Davidson on purpose from the second list? Or did we trade him? Or is he broken?

  27. I honestly thought this move was to just free up a role for Grilli or Johnson. Unless I’m missing something about Banuelos (apparently I was).

  28. I think we’ll miss Chasen Shreve. He’s fully controllable and lefty relievers with his K-rate are not cheap (see Andrew Miller). Not excited about adding another blown elbow to our mix of starters. Banuelos may never crack our rotation, and if he does, he may never be a league-average pitcher.

    To the comments that “you always make that deal”, I would say that’s true if you’re trading a good reliever for an average starter, but Banuelos is not an average starter. He may not be replacement level. He’s just a huge question mark with a history of TJ surgery.

  29. Lefties with a pedigree, legit fastball and the potential of 3 above average pitches are worth going after.

    The guys we gave up weren’t going to move the needle regardless, plus, and I know it’s petty, but I’ve never really forgiven Carpenter for the Uribe homer. No tears for him being gone.

  30. Then let me qualify.

    If you are in the process of rebuilding your team over a 2-3 year period, and you have 1) a hard throwing converted catcher RHrP who is about to get expensive, and 2) a LHrP who was more or less “found money” last year when he came out of nowhere, and you can convert those two assets into a 3) former top 10 level starting prospect who can fill out your rotation in 2015 and compete for a spot going into 2016-17, you do that.

    Relief pitching is fungible.

  31. Relief pitchers are totally fungible, the Braves have less need in the bullpen than they do for a starter. You are right Banuelos may not amount to anything but his upside is well worth the cost of a reliever and a minor league reliever.

  32. Banuelos was basically untouchable, a top 20 in all of baseball kind of prospect, and it wasn’t a series of severe arm injuries that changed that, it was a single elbow injury coupled with unfortunate handling by the Yankees.

    When he hurt his elbow, they shut him down in hopes of avoiding surgery, so he logged only 24 innings in 2012. They finally performed the surgery in October, which meant he missed all of 2013.

    When he pitched in 2014 like a guy who hadn’t seen the mound in two full years, the Yankees apparently decided to get what they could for him, in case he lost more value.

    I think its overly optimistic to expect him to pitch in the bigs this year, having lost two full years of development, and only throwing 76 innings last year. But this is a real prospect, recovering from the single most common surgery in the game.

    And this organization knows pitching. I have faith that they can get this guy back on track.

  33. @38, Yep, that’s the crux of the thing.

    Using relief pitchers to buy low on very high-upside starters is generally smart. But the Braves’ recent track record with post-TJ pitchers is not exactly encouraging, which is why this is all so interesting.

  34. In the long run, Banuelos may be the best player we picked up this winter.

    We did hire (person’s name escapes me) from the Yankees. He is fully aware of what we are getting.

  35. Bama did a great job of masking their 2 relative weaknesses this year. The defense wasn’t at all scary & you could always expect Sims, who was mostly terrific this year, to make a big turnover. Both bit ’em last night.

    What’s funny, though, is that if you watched this Bama team all year, you still kinda figured they’d come back & win last night. Their offense was that formidable. But when Sims threw the INT at the goal line (after the short OSU punt), you knew this may not be their night.

    And where did OSU find that defensive end who plays QB?

  36. It’s a running joke at this point, but there’s a perfectly reasonable argument that (1st time) Tommy John returnees *are* a market inefficiency.

  37. “The Braves’ recent track record with post-TJ pitchers is not exactly encouraging.”

    Yeah drafting Alex Wood turned out to be a real mistake.

  38. It’s fascinating to see the Braves index hard on post-TJ guys — bringing back Arodys Vizcaino, getting Max Fried, etc. — but TJ has something like a 90% success rate and yet the Braves appear to have gotten more than a 10% discount on these guys, compared to their pre-surgery value. So they’re probably good moves even if they don’t all succeed.

  39. @46 – Cleveland Glenville HS. Jones was a Tressel recruit. I watched him play in the OH HS football championship game. He was bigger than all the linemen on the opposing team back then.

  40. @49 – Is the track record bad because of Medlen, Beachy, Venters? Just wondering what you meant. Do you think its the Braves fault that they didn’t fully recover or re injured themselves?

  41. Beachy and Venters are possible black marks against the Braves’ medical staff/TJ recovery program. Medlen fully recovered, pitched very effectively for two seasons, then blew out his elbow a second time. I have a hard time seeing that as a failure for the Braves.

  42. @52, Well, the team publicly said they were reevaluating their rehab methods after Venters/Medlen/Beachy. Who knows what they found. Maybe our strategy is to let others do the rehabbing for us and then we swoop in and buy low :)

    What do we know, as far as how long TJ keeps pitchers healthy? I feel like I’ve read references to studies showing the incidence of 2nd TJs — that the Braves/As were outliers, but that it’s not something that should be unexpected. But I could be misremembering.

  43. I think our strategy is more “no one will give us A-list pitching prospects for our corners, but they’ll package up former A-listers with some other pieces that we like, because of TJ surgery.” They are literally playing TJ recovery as a market inefficiency. They think other teams are undervaluing prospects like Fried and Banuelos because of the TJ procedure. This may be a time-box valuation issue to. The Padres and Yankees plan to compete immediately. The Braves are willing to wait out the 12-18 months of TJ recovery.

  44. @55, yes this is an interesting strategy, and I hope it works out. I’m probably overly pessimistic due to our spate of bad luck (I hope it’s just luck) with TJ’s.

    If Banuelos becomes a 2 win pitcher, the trade will look great, and he could be a lot more than that. I’m just concerned about the reports I read (since that’s all I have) of lost velocity and not looking like himself. I realize it’s a gamble at best, but I wonder if we are on the downside of expected value on that gamble. Carpenter, I don’t really care about losing. Doesn’t seem like he’s been a very good pitcher since August of 2013, and no sense in paying him a bunch.

  45. I enjoyed watching Carpenter pitch. Easy guy to root for IMO. Saying he hasn’t been good since 2013 is probably a little untruthful. He was very solid after the all star break last year. Probably just overlooked due to how bad the team was. He should do well next year, not a huge loss for us though.

    I wouldve liked the deal more if we couldve kept Shreve and given them Avilan.

  46. I liked Carpenter a good deal, but he’s a perfect case of why you do this deal. They found David Carpenter as a washed up catching prospect who threw hard, and said “stop by and give relief pitching a try in our system.” Relievers are fungible, and the Braves excel at finding them on the scrap heap. (Remember when they randomly picked up Eric O’Flaherty as he was washing out of Seattles system?)

  47. 2002 with Holmes and Hammond was my favorite year for random bullpen guys that were awesome.

    Actually, 2002 was one of my favorite Braves teams ever. The bullpen was tremendous, last year of the Big 3, and the Jones, Jones, and Sheffield outfield was a lot of fun.

    Glavine plus Russ effing Ortiz killed us in the playoffs, but that regular season was really enjoyable.

    EDIT: Don’t know if anyone else remembers from that year, but it just struck me. Pretty sure Smoltz gave up a stupid amount of runs as the closer in one of his first appearances, and I remember wondering if the closer thing was going to work. Funny,as his success in that role is probably what gets him in the HoF first ballot.

  48. So, looking at a tiny sample, Jeff Zimmerman finds pitchers that will eventually require another TJ about 650 innings or about four seasons on average for their UCL to tear again. But it doesn’t seem like it’s all that common a thing.

  49. @59
    Gave up a buttload against the mets if I recall. I remember a graphic toward the end of the season showing his hypothetical line removing that appearance with the same 55 saves but and era around 2.

  50. They played well, Smitty; but they still wear ugly orange costumes. Good game for your Vols.

  51. They do have ugly unis. I always wonder if that affects 18 year olds who really care what they wear.

    Don’t worry, Smitty; you won’t have to worry about singing Rocky Top in the fourth week in September.

  52. @59, yes I think it was between 6 and 9 runs given up to the Mets in one inning, and it made his ERA a good run higher than it would’ve been for the season.

    My favorite random pen was 1993. We had the elderly Jay Howell and Steve Bedrosian, and the castoff Greg McMichael to go along with Stanton and Mercker. yeah, having McMichael as a closer probably cost us the NLCS, but the regular season was good.

  53. @58- Don’t forget Jonny Venters, who was a non-prospect minor league starting pitcher with 400 minor league innings and a 4.10 ERA (and coming off a 5.62 AAA campaign) who Bobby Cox saw in spring training in 2010 and thought “Maybe if we tried him in the pen.” He didn’t break camp with the club, but he was only in Gwinnett long enough to log 6.2 innings before he came to Atlanta and made himself indispensable.

    Two thirds of the O’Ventbrel trio came from under rocks. These guys are around, you apparently just need to know what to look for.

  54. As strategies go, I suppose it may work, but there is a reason lotto tickets are two bucks and not two hundred. And we still have no hitting in the pipeline. As rebuilds go, I’m skeptical.

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