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: The Jeter vs. The Chipper
Editor’s Pitch: With the Braves clinging to a 3-2 lead with 2 outs and a runner on 3rd in the bottom of the 8th, Jordan Walden got Travis d’Arnaud to hit a ground ball. Unfortunately for the Braves, it was headed toward the hole and looked destined to tie the game for the Mets. Fortunately for the Braves, they have Andrelton Simmons playing shortstop, and he ranged to his right, snagged the ball, leaped, and threw the runner out with nanoseconds to spare. ESPN will tell you this type of play was patented by Derek Jeter, but there are some notable differences between Jeter making the play and Simmons making the play. Jeter would leap because, unlike Simmons, he did not have a strong enough arm to take the time to plant himself and get the throw off in time. Simmons leaped because he had ranged so far to his right that he was able to get to a ball Jeter never would have even thought to try to get to, and, with as far as he had to run, had he tried to stop his momentum to plant himself and fire across the diamond, he probably would have fallen over. Although he made this look easy, it was anything but.
Editor’s Pitch: While Chipper was never a stellar defensive third baseman, he was the master of charging to barehand a ball and nab the runner. It’s pretty typical to see third basemen make—or try to make—that play, but shortstops really don’t have the time to even try (in fact, when Alcides Escobar tried to make a similar play in the World Series, Harold Reynolds made the comment that he had not seen a shortstop make a play like that since Omar Vizquel. Fortunately, we all know Harold Reynolds the commentator is an idiot.) Simmons, however, has a strong enough arm that he has enough time to do pretty much anything he wants. It’s really not fair.