The Jadeite Jewel: The Consolation Round

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.

The consolation round: The Slip ‘N Slide vs. Taggin’ Fool

The Slip ‘N Slide

Editor’s Pitch: Simmons not only kept up with the path of the ball when his feet slipped out from under him, he caught it and threw it from his knee without any hesitation, as if he had planned to do it that way all along. His arm is strong enough that he got the out. From his knees. On the outfield grass. With a throw that was chest high when Freddie Freeman reached out to catch it. Chip Caray’s “Are you kidding me?” was spot on.

Last Round: In the semifinals, The Slip ‘N Slide lost to Shortstop…or Left Fielder?

Taggin’ Fool

Editor’s Pitch: This astounding tag has gotten a lot of well-deserved publicity. Freeman’s throw was awful on what should have been an easy pick-off play, but through an instinct unique only to him, Simmons was able to apply the tag where he caught the ball–between his legs. I can’t find a clip of it, but I remember later on in that broadcast they showed an angle from centerfield that clearly showed Simmons got the tag down. How he was able to do that will remain one of life’s great unsolved mysteries.

Last Round: In the semifinals, Taggin’ Fool lost to A League of His Own.

45 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel: The Consolation Round”

  1. This guy with the heavy “bahstan” accent is killing me with his pronunciation of Joey Terds last name on MLB network.

  2. 5 doubles this spring for Bethancourt. His bat is definitely one of the (many) things about this club I’m interested in watching this year.

  3. It’s a good thing Bethancourt is a “good defensive” catcher… or he might have missed that pop-up… oh wait.

  4. Heyward is hitting .412 so far this spring, which is statistically relevant to those of us with an outsized sense of indignation. Remember, 17 at bats is not a small sample size if you’re planning to be belligerent from the get-go. Keep up the good work, Jason!

  5. I have to tell you that last year was one of the worst years I’ve ever known as a Braves fan. There was plenty of talent, but they dropped off the face of the earth in the second half of the year. I don’t expect a record much different than last year (maybe a little worse), but I’m pretty sure they’ll be much more fun to watch. I think wins like the one today will be rare, but as you mention, they’ll be enjoyable to the end.

  6. Basically what I’m gathering from this thread (posts #3 & #6) is that anyone can hit scrub pitching and to not put any stock into it. Shelby pitched good today also.

  7. I’m with you td; given the same record I would much rather it come from an under-talented team which is over performing than an over-talented team which is under performing. The entertainment value is much better in the former case, in my opinion. For me, if this year turns out similar (record wise) to last year it will be more entertaining and less painful.

  8. I’ll always prefer meaningful games, no matter who’s playing them.

    But in the really lean years, you find your entertainment where you can. When you’re tuning in because you actually like watching Willie Montanez, Rafael Ramirez or Gerald Perry, that speaks to bigger issues.

    That’s rich, huh?

  9. Glad to see that during a spring when he’s in minor league camp and the Braves have invited everyone and their brother to be a non-roster invitee at major league camp, that Constanza got some playing time in left field today. It’s reassuring to see that following a winter of seeming organizational overhaul, this is still the same team I know and love.

  10. Small sample, Ryan :)

    Edit: Or I could spin it that his slugging percentage this spring is higher than it was last year

  11. I think I will call our team the Atlanta Flounders this year. If they win the Series we can have a Flounders’ Day Parade!

  12. Pro: I moved to the ATL and no longer have to pay for MLB Extra Innings.

    Con: I now get to watch this team without an added charge.

  13. I hope Heyward hits .200 and the Cardinals go 0-162. That would give us an opportunity at jumping back into the bidding for him next offseason. Some think he’ll have a $200MM payday. No thanks.

    Hector is apparently still entertaining offers. You would think his camp would move this along so he’s got a chance to make an opening day lineup somewhere.

  14. Samples be damned–I’ll choose to be excited about Andrelton’s hitting .563 and the reports he’s lashing the ball to RF. He’s too young and talented with too much hand-eye coordination to be as awful as he was last year. But I can only look at box scores. Who is watching the games? Is he still dropping that back shoulder, diving in, and golfing? *shudder*

    I hope Jason Heyward hits .259 with 9 HR, resigns with the Braves at a discount to be the CF for the next decade at 12 mil per year and then has his real breakout season in 2016.

  15. I’ve seen him twice this year, his swing looked shorter and his swing mechanics seemed more compact. All the hits i saw were line drives up the middle or little flips to right field. I was certainly left with some optimism about his 2015 season. Bethancort has also looked good, but he’s been crushing first pitch fastballs, so we’ll see what that translates to against big league starters over the course of a season.

  16. I’m also liking Jace Peterson’s stat line and the .452 OBP in 31 PA’s. He only needs to get on base at half that rate to be an upgrade on Uggla. How’s he looking?

  17. He’s been fun to watch. He looks pretty good at 2B. He and Simmons turned 3 double plays against Boston yesterday. I like his ABs, he works the count, seems to like watching lots of pitches. I could see him hitting a ton of doubles. I’m expecting him to get the lion’s share of playing time at 2B, especially when considering how Callaspo and Gosselin have been playing.

  18. Has Peterson worked at 3B? I’m really hoping he and Peraza can play in the same infield with Simmons and Freddie by 2016. Peraza reportedly has the better arm but his 70 glove might play better at 2B

  19. I couldn’t say, I’ve only seen him at second and short, and in limited opportunities at that. He looks pretty comfortable and competent. Fredi said that Peraza is going to play some CF, SS and 2B in the minors. I like to think the brass wants Peterson and Pereaza in the starting lineup on opening day next year, and they”ll let the rest of the roster to decide where they’ll end up playing.

  20. Who isn’t hitting the ball this spring?

    @Jim_Powell: Noticing SS Nick Ahmed and 3B Brandon Drury having huge camps for the @Dbacks as I peruse my daily @BaseballAmerica Prospect Report email.

  21. Drury has put up some pretty big minor league numbers, he may turn out to be the biggest part of the Upton deal for Arizona.

  22. Fangraphs previewed 2015 team defenses and broke them down by projected runs saved by position. Braves shortstop position had the highest positive total at +20 runs saved. The Braves as a team totaled out to zero runs saved. No other position on Braves team projected for positive defensive value.

  23. On the plus side if there’s one position you’d like to have save 20 runs it’s shortstop. On the other if the rest of your team is -20 runs defensively, well…

  24. The Braves bullpen is taking a beating tonight. Pierzynski probably wishes he had been tossed in the 3rd.

  25. From MLB Trade Rumors:

    “•The Braves are in a better situation than many realize,’s Anthony Castrovince argues. Internally, Atlanta thinks it could have a winning record and may even stay in the Wild Card picture. And in the grander scheme, the organization has improved its financial flexibility and added some interesting, upper-level arms. “What we didn’t want to have happen,” said assistant GM John Coppolella, “is finish this year .500, and then we lose [Jason] Heyward and [Justin] Upton and get back Draft picks 35 and 36 and we’re like, ‘What the heck just happened?’ Then we’d be in deep trouble for the next five or six years.” President of baseball operations John Hart explained things this way: “We’ve tried to walk down the parallel line to allow ourselves a chance to be competitive.”

  26. The only sense in which the line we’re walking this year is parallel is that it’s not going to intersect with the playoffs.

    And I’m still sitting here asking, ‘What the heck just happened?’

  27. Side note: Staying up for that Hawkers game last night didn’t turn out like I planned. Al missed everything, and the offense kept doing the dribble-towards-the-lane-no-wait-lemme-just-dribble-back-out-to-no-man’s-land. We did a nice job on Curry, but Iguodala caught fire, and Barnes and Green were open all night long–and draining their shots. Stupid Hawkers. This bandwagon I’ve hopped on better not kick me off before I’m ready.

  28. Braves weren’t going to be competitive this year with Jason, Justin, and Gattis so they made the right call. We will have to wait and see if they made the right trades though.

    There was no way this team could compete with a rotation of Julio, Wood, and an injured Minor with scrubs filling in behind them.

  29. At the very least, I don’t see a way the team competes beyond 2015 if they stay the course. Flukey runs happen all the time, and the 2015 Braves could have been one, but then what?

    Coppolella makes a good argument; if Upton and Heyward were as good as gone, this team would be a trainwreck in 2016 and beyond and wouldn’t have much in the way of resources towards fixing things. The team hanging on to everyone and then finishing .500 again is a worst-case scenario, long-term.

  30. @38, I’m not much of a hoops guy, but losing a road game to GS is pretty forgivable anytime, and when you’re down a starter and at a relatively meaningless part of the season, I think the bandwagon is still safe.

  31. “The team hanging on to everyone and then finishing .500 again is a worst-case scenario, long-term.”

    That is the same conclusion I reached when I went pretty in-depth/nerdy/obnoxious into it here a couple months ago.


    “and the 2015 Braves could have been one, but then what?”

    My resting opinion is that all we’ve done is brought the “but then what?” phase on a year early.

  32. @40, Copp elides resigning one or both, as well as not getting any power hitters back. There’s an argument for their moves, of course, but that’s a pretty big hole in the boat to leave out.

  33. Hawks played very well on the defensive end for about 22 minutes, and at that point the difference in the game (5 points) was a circus 3 ptr by Draymond Green and a phantom foul call or two by the homecourt refs. Then GS went on one of their 6-0 runs that takes about 11 seconds and we were back to an 11 point deficit. In the second half, all that expenditure of energy caught up with us, and GS was off to the races. That or the Hawks were discouraged by the fact that in spite of their good defensive effort, they couldn’t make any wide open shots. Al Horford was 1-11 from the floor and Schroeder was 1-12 or so by that time. Millsap and Bazemore were getting no-calls when they drove and got hammered and GS was getting calls for any incidental contact, even if it happened after the shot was released.

    Korver and Thompson probably cancelled each other out with absences, though ATL suffers more mightily without Korver than GS does without Klay. Korver is the NBA’s best decoy, and it doesn’t matter if he ever takes a shot–you gotta run with him the whole game or he’ll make a dozen 3’s. But anyhoo, we can’t deal without 3 of our top 9 vs a deep team like GS, and should we meet again this season (oh please yes), maybe we’ll have Korver, Thabo, and Mike Scott back, all valuable 3-and-D rotation players who match up with GS’s 3-and-D rotation players.

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