The Jadeite Jewel: Houston Atlanta, We Have a Runoff

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. To see the previous posts in the series, click here.

Well, Braves Journal, Simmons is really starting to stump us. We have had a few close shaves this round, but this contest ended up in a dead tie. The only thing to do is run the contest again! So, call your friends and tell them to vote! Vote early and vote often! (Except, not really, because you can only vote once…although if it really means that much to you to see your play make it to the next round, you could always find a second computer to vote on or clear your browser’s cache…but don’t tell Alex I told you that).

Without further ado, I present:

Runoff: You Shall Not Pass vs. On the World Stage

You Shall Not Pass

Editor’s Pitch: I’m really not sure how Simmons got to this ball. He had to dive, obviously, but then he had to reach up to actually catch it. I wouldn’t have guessed his arms were long enough to make this play, but the one lesson I have learned from watching Andrelton for three years is to always expect the impossible. And this certainly looks impossible.

Last Round: You Shall Not Pass beat The Ballerina 39-1.

On the World Stage
Note: The very first play shown in this clip is the play in competition.

Editor’s Pitch: Simmons’s skills are not confined to the regular season. He was in mid-season form in March, during the World Baseball Classic. Seeing a 6-3 double play is not rare, but seeing a 6-3 double play from centerfield is very rare. He was once again in an area most shortstops never see, and he once again made an incredible play and was ready to throw immediately. In this case, he was able to get a second out. I know I just said it, but it bears repeating: his instincts are incredible.

Last Round: On the World Stage beat Out of His Way 28-10.

33 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel: Houston Atlanta, We Have a Runoff”

  1. These are both unreal. But watch what the cameraman does in “You Shall Not Pass”, at the 6-7 second mark. He’s so convinced this is a routine ground ball to the outfield that he keeps panning toward the left fielder until he gets the realization “holy crap the shortstop has the ball” and then jerks the camera back. Fantastic.

  2. I watched that second video, wow, what a defender.

    It’s a shame that Andruw will get no hall consideration, being that he played center like Andrelton played short for 10 years, and hit. I think its interesting how the internet will change things. We don’t have a lot of Ozzie, but he must have been great, and based on the little we have, he was. We don’t have a lot on Andruw, but he was the best I have ever seen at 8, and he hit.

    Now, when folks try to keep Andrelton out in 15 years, based on his career 700 ops (assuming he does not go off on a coke binge) his supporters will be able to put together a 30 minute video that shows how great of a defender he was.

    The sad facts is, unless you are a legendary defender at 6, the hall is for hitting. I think that goes to show that Heyward, while he had value, and he is a great defender, has disappointed. Corner outfield defense just is not that important. Would you rather have Reggie Jackson in right or Heyward? I’ll take Jackson every time. However, as long as Simmons can OPS 700, or hell 600, I’ll take him at short every day. he makes up in D outs what he gives up in O outs.

  3. Just for fun…

    The average of Andruw’s wRC+s in his first five full seasons (starting age 20): 109

    The average of Heyward’s wRC+s in his first five full seasons (starting age 20): 116

  4. @3 Just for fun *and context*, here is a fuller comparison of Andruw and JHey’s composite lines for their first five full seasons (both starting age 20, as you say):

    Andruw (796 games): 472 R, 145 HR, 452 RBI, 103 SB, .269/.340/.489 (.829 OPS), 30.2 fWAR

    JHey (681 games): 367 R, 84 HR, 292 RBI, 63 SB, .262/.351/.429 (.780 OPS), 21.4 fWAR

    In summary – over their first 5 seasons, Andruw was more durable and better than JHey at every facet of the game with the exception of JHey’s slight OBP edge.

  5. @2

    30 minutes? I think you’re underestimating how long that video would be. There was a 30-minute one that came out before last season!


    Thanks! I’ll check and see if I can get a copy at the library.

  6. Andruw also played in an era that was much more favorable for the type of offensive player he was, though. The late nineties and the early aughts were the heyday of low-average, high-strikeout power hitters.

  7. I don’t think there’s any “though” to it. Heyward has been great his first 5 years–really, really great. Andruw was (and is) historic. They’re my two favorite, favorite Braves after Maddux–but Andruw gets the nod here. I don’t think it’s very close.

  8. Andruw was THE BEST, and he gave his best to the Braves at a bargain.

    Jason is DAMN GOOD. He does not play center field. He plays right field. Perhaps he offered his continued services to the Braves for a song, but I doubt it.

    Edward: You can look it up. (I like James Thurber too.) Enjoy.

  9. The late nineties and the early aughts were the heyday of low-average, high-strikeout power hitters.

    Here’s another fun fact – in their first five full seasons, Andruw hit for a higher average and struck out less often than Heyward. There’s no getting around it – Andruw was a more valuable hitter and vastly more valuable overall player than JHey through 5 full seasons. As Ed and Coop mention in @7 and @8, that’s not a slight to Heyward so much as an acknowledgement of the fact that Andruw Jones had a HOF-worthy start to his career. By comparison, Chipper Jones’ first full five seasons’ fWAR was 27.3 (to Andruw’s 30.2). Ahhh, the salad days of Braves fandom…

  10. Oh, Andruw’s first five seasons were absolutely better than Heyward’s. But that’s more because Andruw played a tougher defensive position excellently and because he stayed on the field. Nobody disagrees. I was responding to the idea that Andruw was better offensively. Out of the context of their distinctly different eras, sure. But not really.

  11. I think Heyward’s actually pretty similar to Brian McCann: a brilliant start to his career, though his offensive production has often dipped as a result of injury. (As a matter of fact, in Brian’s first five full seasons, he was worth 17.5 rWAR, compared to Jason’s 24.5 rWAR.)

    It’s way too soon to tell what will happen to Jason from here on out — he’s such a fine athlete that he’s likely to age well, but he’s had a reputation for being injury-prone going back to high school, so it’s possible that he will have more of a Jose Reyes-like career.

  12. @14 Exactly. If Andruw was coming into the league today as a 19 year old, he would not have the exact same numbers. The game has changed, with a higher density of strikeouts and more shifting, and it’s more unfavorable to players of his offensive profile than it once was.

    Andruw’s glove plays in any era, but I don’t think his bat does. He was never a particularly disciplined hitter, even at his best.

  13. EYJ, 2 years outside of Colorado: 242/310/321 631
    Melvin, 2 years with Atlanta: 198/279/314 593

    EYJ, an actual 40 point improvement in OPS.

  14. Opening Day lineup vs RHP:
    LF Young
    CF Cunningham
    1b Freeman
    RF Almonte
    2b Peterson
    3b Callaspo
    SS Simmons
    C Bethancourt

    Opening Day lineup vs LHP
    CF Perez
    RF Cunningham
    1b Freeman
    3b Johnson
    LF Gomes
    2b Gosselin
    SS Simmons
    C Bethancourt

  15. I would really like to see Eury get the chance to play CF….I suspect it will go to Eric Young Jr…..

  16. @28, What would ever make you think that…

    “I think the world of Eric Young,” [Fredi] Gonzalez said. “He can really bring a different dynamic that we haven’t had here since Michael Bourn, leading off against right-handed pitching or whatever you want to do. So that’s an exciting non-roster invitee, really.”

    Constanza II…and we didn’t even really get rid of Constanza I.

  17. I like Heyward, he was a good Brave. IF he had played center for the last5 years, I think we could compare him to Andruw. But he played mostly corner outfield, and I guess my point is that his excellent defensive skill was kind of wasted.

    As for whether Andruw would hit today, I think he would. Likely more Strikeouts, but I think his power numbers would be about the same. He was then, and will always be, a dead pull hitter, no matter how he is coached.

    I guess my initial point was that you have a guy that played CF about as good as it could be played for 10 years, and he will likely get little to no credit for that from hall voters. If Andrelton hit like Andruw, he would provably have a statue erected at the opening of Olive Garden stadium.

  18. I’m rooting for Cunningham. If nothing else, he’s a good guy who graduated from my alma mater, Jacksonville State University. He’s the only non-pitcher from JSU to ever play in an MLB game. With Kimbrel and Cunningham, at least there’s some Alabama connection to keep me rooting for a team that may not be the most exciting to watch this year.

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