Where Do We Go From Here? Andrelton Simmons (by cliff)

What can we say about Andrelton Simmons? The most important question goes to his offense. But, that will follow. First, his defense.

‘Rissa has given us a wonderful journey through what almost seems like a fictional world. Just as we mere mortals do not understand how Samson killed 1000 Philistines or how Hercules shifted a river to clean a stable, we do not understand Andrelton.

So, I will compare Andrelton to other spectacular defenders known to me. My watching baseball began when the Braves were in Milwaukee in 1965 and had broadcasts into the Southeast to get ready for the new team in 1966. Dizzy Dean was the color announcer and it was really fun to listen to Ol’ Diz. Then, “Games of the Week” on NBC with Joe Garagiola, Sr. and Tony Kubek and then the Braves on TBS and Cubs on WGN, and on and on. So, the legends of the “pre Cliff” past will not be part of this.

THE ARM.

Arm strength (for non pitchers) is most needed at 3 positions: catcher, shortstop, and right field. Then come 3rd base and center field. Then 2nd base. Then left field.

Comparing to shortstops, there are 2 who I remember with spectacular arms. Shawon Dunston and Rafael Furcal. As compared to Furcal, Andrelton can get more on the ball with less windup. Otherwise, “80” arms for both on the scale. The other “80” arm I have seen was Dunston. Nobody else could do what they did, until Andrelton. CLEARLY, Andrelton had a vastly superior arm to the “offense shortstops” (Nomar, A-Rod, Jeter, Ripken) and to the other “defense shortstops (Ozzie, Omar Vizquel, Mark Belanger).

THE RANGE.

First, Andrelton utilizes his arm strength to position himself deeper than any shortstop I have ever seen play on grass. Occasionally, guys on turf would play that deep because the ball got to them so much faster. That means that theoretically, he has more left and right range. In practice, over the long run, only Ozzie seemed close in this. Andrelton covers more ground than anybody I have ever seen. You have to get to the ball, or you don’t catch it. Range sets an outer limit. This guy’s limit is beyond compare. The professionals say 75, but to me, he is an “80” here as well.

THE GRACE AND MOVEMENT.

Here is where anybody who saw Ozzie Smith over and over could be mesmerized. Diving while rolling horizontally. Throwing and flipping from bizarre positions and bizarre angles. Seeing insane hops and reacting to them quickly and without panic or jerkiness, just a smooth movement. But, Ozzie never tossed a ball behind his back to get it to his throwing arm. “80” times two, Ozzie and Andrelton, but ONLY times two.

THE CONSISTENCY.

Here is where Vizquel, Belanger, and Jeter get in the discussion. Seemingly always making the play when they were in decent position. Early last year, Andrelton slipped a little on that. By mid season that slippage was gone. If we average his consistency over his career, he probably falls a little short. So, a “75.”

The greatest defensive players I have ever seen (while there defense was still spectacular, which knocks out Willie Mays) are, in order: Andrelton, Ozzie, Andruw Jones, Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Dave Parker, and Johnny Bench. These were guys that over and over did things you couldn’t believe, but none of them was the equal of Andrelton Simmons.

NO, WHAT ABOUT THE OFFENSE?

If Andrelton Simmons were the offensive player he was in the second half of 2013 OR in the early part of 2012, then we say “Inner Circle Hall of Famer.” But, there are 2014 and the last half of 2012 and the first half of 2013. So, if Andrelton’s offense is the average of its previous manifestations, a player you still want, a guy that will make the Hall because of otherworldly defense, but not that utterly transcendent player.

The guy sees the ball and doesn’t miss it much. That is good. He swings at things that are 8 to 10 inches out of the strike zone quite often. That is bad. He has a powerful stroke and has good power for a shortstop, but does he “sell out” for power and kill the rest of his offense?

Since this is “where do we go from here,” we need to try to take this mess and “project.” Fantasy Pros has 8 projections with a low of OPS 694 to a high of 772. With a very slight advantage in the age curve, a new hitting coach, and maybe a little recognition of just how bad the overswinging has been, I will say this is the year that establishes Andrelton at a range of 700 to 750 OPS for the next 5 or 6 years. A little better walk rate, power not quite like 2013, a little better batting average. Almost good enough offense to be “inner circle”, but not quite there. Someday he will enter the Hall of Fame as the recognized greatest defensive player in MLB history, with a slightly better contextual offensive profile than Ozzie.

159 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here? Andrelton Simmons (by cliff)”

  1. Johnny, I’ve been to Columbus. Don’t try to sell me that “it’s not bad” crap. Ohio is bad.

  2. Columbus is OK. It’s Cleveland that’s really dire.

    Nice write-up, especially the bit about the great defenders. People forget how good Johnny Bench was, just an awesome ballplayer on an incredible team. And Brooks Robinson is easily my all-time (non-Brave) fave. My dad met him in Viet Nam on a USO tour & I still have the audio tape of him talking to “me.”

    I started watching baseball in 1970 & I’d add a couple of guys to that list: at 3B, Graig Nettles; at C, Ivan Rodriguez; in CF, Paul Blair; in RF, Ellis Valentine (before injuries took their toll); also in RF, Jesse Barfield.

    When I moved to NYC in 1990, I went to the old Yankee Stadium & sat in the RF bleachers a lot (only $4.50!) to see some really lousy Stump-Merrill-Era teams. One of that year’s bigger thrills was having an up-close view of Barfield firing the ball to 3B. I saw him throw out a couple guys, but usually nobody ran on him. Still, he’d fire a missile from deep right that would usually hit the 3B on the fly or on one perfect hop. The bleacher people, including the rapper Melle Mel who was at every game, would all offer a big, “Wooooooo!”

    Andrelton’s amazing. We’re lucky we have him. Unfortunately, he’s another one of our “#8 hitters.” Hopefully, one day soon it won’t be so noticeable.

  3. From the old folks’ home:

    Carl Furillo could chunk it. Bill Mazeroski and Mark Belanger could pick it; and at catcher, Del Crandall, Sherm Lollar and Campy were damn fine.

  4. coop at 4.

    Mazeroski was an acclaimed wizard in my formative years, but I didn’t see it so much. The 3 catchers are all before my viewing time.

    ububba at 3, I forgot “Pudge” who deserves to be in the same run and probably Yadier Molina as well. I don’t personally remember how good Blair was despite remembering Belanger and Robinson so well (and the rest of the late 60’s early 70’s Orioles). The people I consider experts, seem to always come back to Blair as a great.

  5. I have an older friend from Atlanta who, when the Braves began playing in 1966, would make a point to catch the Pirates whenever they came to town, just to see Mazeroski & Clemente.

    Clemente’s arm, of course, was legendary, but Mazersoki at 2B supposedly turned the DP faster than lightning.

  6. Columbus isn’t Atlanta, which I’m not sure is a good or bad thing. To paraphrase the Charlotte Observer when the writer was describing his town, Columbus is a great place to live, you just don’t want to visit there. Folks impression of Ohio is the great rust belt cities like Cleveland. Throw in Toledo and Dayton or Lima which are mini Detroits and I get why folks think that way.

    Great writeup Cliff. I don’t have any expectations of getting any ‘hitting’ from Simmons. I would settle for not sucking. Carrying his glove is essential for the teams success. I just wish it was just him and not Bethancourt, BJ and CJ too. Now I’m depressed.

  7. Will Wandy start or potentially be a LOOGY bullpen arm? Said its minor league offer contract. Didn’t he fail a physical with the Phillies?

  8. “Keep, affluent teams, your healthy arms,” spout the Johns
    with a smirk. “Give me your declining, your aged,
    Your healing UCL’s months out from Tommy John,
    The pock-marked detritus of your well-stocked farms.
    Send these, the teamless journeymen to me,
    McDowell eagerly awaits their arrival!”

  9. I don’t have a problem with giving Wandy a minor league deal. $2M + incentives if he makes the roster. Decent gamble.

  10. I happened to be at the game when Mark Teixeira made his Braves debut. It was against the Astros and Wandy Rodriguez got the start. In the first inning, I remember he could not throw a strike to save his life, it was painful to watch. It was so bad, the Braves home crowd gave him an ovation when he finally retired somebody. I dug up the box score, and it took him 55 pitches to get through the inning, giving up 7 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks (including an improbable walk to Jeffy). The first six batters went double, walk, walk, walk, single, walk. The Astros left him in the game, and he actually got through five innings somehow. So, I guess you could say my expectations are pretty low here.

  11. Somebody somewhere calls him Magic, right? Even if we’re not inventing it, we should call him Magic.

  12. Joe Benson will no doubt start at AAA, but if he proves successful at that level, could get a call-up mid-year. He rebounded pretty well last year and decreased his K-rate significantly. He’s going to be 27 this year so Braves would have him through his peak years should he make it to the majors. He has speed and can play all OF positions with average to above average defense. I’m rooting for all of his skills to show up this year so he can boot BJ out of CF.

    Another cool aspect of signing him is he bolsters our minors as he still has enough shine on him to come in at a C+ prospect.

    I love the idea of signing the former top prospects of other organizations!

  13. Will Liberty ever decide to raise the payroll if attendance goes in the toilet? The way it’s put together now, this is a pretty boring team, Simba’s defense notwithstanding.

  14. I like the Braves’ two-pronged approach to hoarding rehabbing pitchers: purchase some, manufacture some.

  15. If we bring all these hurt pitchers in, maybe they can help the Braves on different ways to rehab pitchers. The current system in place sucks.

  16. It’s when they attempt kidnapping other teams’ injured pitchers that we might need to stage an intervention or something.

  17. Gondee Tweeted Gattis may be going to the Astros. Not usually one to break news so not sure how much stock to put in that.

  18. @33
    He doesn’t break news much, but he does have an inside track to Braves news from many orgs outside of the Braves system.

  19. ✔ @BNightengale
    The #Astros have brought #Braves catcher Evan Gattis into Houston for a physical today. They are one of 3 teams aggressively pursuing him.

  20. how exactly would one go about giving Gattis a physical? I see a lot of bent instruments in that dr. office.

  21. Sounds like 3 prospects, two of them top 10ish and no Fowler which is good because he made no sense.

    Edit deal done per DOB no mention of CJ or BJ

  22. I understand the need to restock the system, but someone’s going to have to give me a good reason that I currently can’t see as to why I should make my annual 1,000-mile trip to Atlanta for a series this summer.

  23. @39

    And take away any reason for actually watching this team play. Watch Freeman hit, Simmons field, and Kimbrel ride the bench. Exciting stuff.

  24. #Braves getting Foltynewicz, Rio and Ruiz #Astros

    From Joel Sherman

    Edit and Rio Ruiz is one person #8 per BA 3b. Folty #3 RHP per BA.

  25. From TFA in 36…

    “Hart got the top job two years later, and made the most of the talent he inherited. He smartly recognized that Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Charles Nagy, Sandy Alomar and Baerga could form the basis of a pretty good team, and held on to all of them.”

  26. @47

    -It’s a great way to watch a game with full sound but without the Caray/Simpson carnival barking
    -They don’t build Waffle Houses just anywhere
    -Get a first-hand look at a promising handful of the 2017 Alpharetta Unicorns!

  27. Here’s what John Sickels wrote last year:

    4) Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Grade B+: Some command issues in Triple-A, 5.08 ERA in 103 innings, 102/52 K/BB. In the majors, pitching relief with 4.63 ERA, 11/5 K/BB in 12 innings. No question about the stuff.

    10) Rio Ruiz, 3B, Grade B: Hitting .293/.387/.436, wRC+119 in 602 PA in High-A, 11 homers. Decent year, helped by the park and league of course but in line with what he did last year in the Midwest League.

    17) Andrew Thurman, RHP, Grade B-: 5.38 ERA with 107/40 K/BB in 115 innings in Low-A, 122 hits. FIP is much better at 3.74 but even so he has not been as effective as hoped for an advanced college arm.

    Seems decent. On the one hand, Gattis is a good team-controlled slugger. On the other hand, he really doesn’t have a position: the Braves were unwilling to play him at catcher and he’d be an Adam Dunn-like defender in left field, giving back with the glove a lot of the runs he’d produce with his bat. And these guys are real prospects. Getting three B-prospects back for a guy without a position strikes me as a pretty good deal, even if it would have been sexier to get a single blue chipper.

  28. No one has ever heard of Andrew Thurman. Rio Ruiz is a long-shot to ever be an above-replacement-level third baseman, even if he is now our top infield prospect not named Peraza. Foltynewicz has a huge fastball and no control. This return is so much less than we got for Heyward. Does not compute.

  29. I’ll miss the Bear, but he will flourish in Houston. Good deal for EOB and Astros.

    Hope it works out for the Braves.

    It looks like scorecards will be required reading at Braves games this year. I cannot wait to see the team in Orlando.

  30. Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman 49s49 seconds ago
    The #Braves have exchanged names w/ the Astros but the deal is not complete.Still a chance Gattis could go elsewhere.

  31. Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman
    The #Braves have exchanged names w/ the Astros but the deal is not complete.Still a chance Gattis could go elsewhere.

  32. i don’t mind trading Gattis but this makes the Markakis signing pretty dumb.

    also, i see no reason to hold on to Kimbrel at this point.

  33. This is all a bad dream right? As in we’re all in a prolonged winter vegetative stasis of hibernation where when we awaken to the bright sunlight of spring, John Hart greet us with a “Ha Ha, Just kidding! It was a bad dream!! I didn’t trade away people for a whole bunch of Tommy John recoveries. We’ll still be good. We’ll win 92 and be in the hunt.”

    Good news is Kimbrel’s arm will be very fresh as he’ll NEVER have to try to close a game. Bet Hart can get some good prospects for the Kraken.

  34. This is why Coppy was on board with Hart running the show for a few years. What needed to be done (*) makes the man doing it extremely unpopular with the fan base. Coppy will be the guy that people like when Hart fades back into the woodwork post-rebuild.

  35. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/evaluating-the-prospects-houston-astros/
    Rio Ruiz, 3B
    Current Level/Age: High-A/20.4, 6’2/215, L/R
    Drafted: 129th overall (4th round) in 2012 out of California HS by HOU for $1.85 million bonus
    Hit: 20/55, Raw Power: 55/55, Game Power: 20/50+, Run: 40/40, Field: 40/50, Throw: 55/55

    Scouting Report: Ruiz came to the Astros for an over slot $1.85 million with the money they saved going under slot on Correa as the #1 overall pick in 2012. Ruiz slipped to the 4th round after being in the top 50 pick discussion early in the spring due to a blood clot in his neck that prematurely ended his season. He was also a standout quarterback in high school which shows with his above average arm strength, but the 6’2/215 lefty hitter isn’t a traditionally great athlete.

    Ruiz is a 40 runner with fringy range that limits his defensive upside, though it looks right now like he’ll be able to stay at the hot corner, with the above average raw power to profile. The carrying tool is the bat and Ruiz took a step forward statistically in 2014, but some scouts would like to see him do it outside of the Cal League before throwing a 60 on his hit tool (though some already put a 60 on it). Between his deep hand load, the power not showing up completely in games yet and the lack of plus bat speed, scouts still have offensive questions; Ruiz’s limited pre-draft exposure also contributes to the prevalence of the conservative opinions.

    Ruiz has good power to the opposite field in games already, which is often a harbinger of home run numbers spiking down the road. The Astros aren’t too concerned about the defensive questions as Ruiz is a hard worker that spends more time on defense than most prospects with a bat-first profile. While his range is fringy, his hands are sure and much of Ruiz’s defensive troubles come not on range-type plays coming in or moving to either side, but flubbing routine plays, sailing easy throws or staying back too long and letting the ball play him. If he can’t stay at 3B, the only other fit is 1B, so it’s important for his value that Ruiz stay at the hot corner.

    Summation: Ruiz could answer many of these questions in Double-A in 2015 at age 21 on what should be a loaded Corpus Christi club. The tool grades are similar to Moran even if the type of player is different; scouts tend to agree there’s a little more power and upside for Ruiz but a notch less bat.

    Upside: ..280/.360/.460, average defense
    FV/Risk: 50, Medium (3 on a 1-5 scale)
    Projected Path: 2015: AA, 2016: AAA, 2017: MLB

  36. Looks like we’ll have a pretty good 5th starter competition this spring between Magic Wandy, Bunny Banuelos, Folty, and Young Fellow Hale

  37. It seems like a solid deal to me though I think at least for the first year when Gattis hits 30-35 HRs in Houston while getting to DH we will think otherwise.

    Others have said it but other than marketing, there is no reason not to trade Kimbrel at this point.

  38. @68

    The Pittsburgh Pirates “post-rebuild” was a ghost they chased for 20 years. There’s a not so insignificant chance everyone we got this offseason sucks, picking baseball players is a very inexact science. This could have been done while at least appearing to maintain a modicum of major league ambition, instead it’s another blow to the nuts to the fanbase.

  39. Or the C competition between Bethancourt and Pierzynski. Or the 3B competition between Johnson and Callaspo. Or the 2B competition between Goseelin, Peraza, and Peterson…

  40. @72
    There was no reason not to trade him since the day the World Series ended.

    Great points, Spike and Stu. It’s like the 2015 Braves are using a trick of semantics to claim they’re competing!

  41. The Braves clearly believe that to rebuild, you have to rebuild from pitching. If that assumption is wrong, we will find out. You can make an argument that it is, giving the existing offensive environment. Or you can wonder if the offensive environment today is going to be the same one we see in 2017.

  42. I’m not excited about this trade. Folty has never been able to locate and Thurman has disappointed at low levels despite having college experience. Ruiz–I like the walks and 50 XBH and his age, but do we really need more middling infield prospects, especially given we’re locked into Andrelton and we have Jace and Peraza? Is this team allergic to trading for outfielders?

    I would like this a little more if we’d gotten their #5 prospect, rhp Feliz who had a nice K/BB ratio, instead of Faltering Folty. Or a B outfielder instead of Thurman.

  43. Here’s a thought – package Gattis and one of those fancy prospects we got for Heyward and Upton for a quality AA/AAA OF

  44. @76, I concur. It is especially concerning to me that each of the pitching prospects we have acquired is flawed in some obvious way. Even Miller had a setback last year. On the other hand, if the strategy is to sign star outfielders to pair with our bevy of mediocre infield prospects over the next couple of years, that could work out to field a competitive team.

  45. @81, It’s hard to imagine a team with Teheran, Wood, Minor, Miller being the worst in baseball, barring regression/injury. But ours may challenge the Mariners lineup of 2010 for worst of the modern era. Holding opposition to 600 runs isn’t so hot when you only score 500.

  46. Well, what do you want? We’re offering one year of a 4 WAR OF, or a several years of control over a more or less positionless player. We’re probably getting more back dealing them separately than we would if we packaged them for a return that would include a sure-thing, high-ceiling prospect (EDIT: pitching or hitting prospect).

    I don’t get the too-many-infield-prospects thing. Ruiz plays 3B, kind of. Peraza plays 2B. Jace Peterson is a utility infielder on any decent team.

  47. @86, I thought we decided to clean up the language on this blog. Somebody’s damn weiner kids may be listening!

  48. It would be nice to have a guy in the minors that we could say, “I can’t wait until XXXX is ready! That guys is a monster.”

    I guess we will have that guy next June.

  49. The plan is clearly to go wide with the lesser lottery tickets, rather than placing all of the money on one guy. And that’s not a bad idea.

  50. We just need a list of all our shiny prospects to copypasta whenever things are looking especiallly down this season.

  51. I know we can develop pitching prospects. I would’ve liked to see us trade Upton/Heyward/and Gattis for close to ready position players and us develop our own pitching.

  52. I think the Braves are hoping that Minor has a great year in which he would get flipped for a bat or two. Aoki for LF now?

    Stu, I guess you can only get what the market offers. Either way, I think we all agree that Gattis would’ve been a disaster in LF. Still wish he was catching.

  53. Manny Banuelos
    Max Fried
    Jose Peraza
    Tyrell Jenkins
    Braxton Davidson
    Arodys Vizcaino
    Rio Ruiz
    Lucas Sims
    Ozhaino Albies
    Dustin Peterson

    That’s not bad.

  54. I think these team will be a 75 win team. The offense was bad last year. The rotation looks pretty good with lots of depth for injuries at Gwinnett . The bullpen is maybe better than last year with depth. Aj will end up starting a lot of games behind the plate. He is not that far removed from being a very good offensive catcher. First base is as good as it gets in the field and a top 15 offensive guy at his spot. Simmons should hit better and he is the best defensive player at short since Ozzie. Markasis is A league average outfielder who is a good mentor to young players. Will the Braves have power? No, but we were one of the worst on base teams last year in the league. If guys can make contact and force defenses to make plays to get them out , the runs scored will not be that far behind. It just won’t be the earl weaver baseball we have gotten used to. Chicks dig thelong ball, but the Giants prove that contact hitters win World Series rings.

  55. Sigh… it’s been awfully fun having Evan Gattis to root for. I bet he’ll have a grand time hitting baseballs up onto the train tracks at The Park Formerly Known as Enron Field. The signing of A.J. Pierzynski was a clear indication the Braves were ready to part with Gattis if met with a fair offer – AJP gave the Braves catcher insurance in the event that Bethancourt fails to learn how to hit and catch before the 2015 season starts. Honestly I think there’s a better than 50/50 chance that AJP has the most plate appearances of any C on the team this year.

    On the plus side for this trade, I like Ruiz’s hitting profile (good plate discipline, decent all-field power with potential for more), and you can never have too many pitching prospects. We do seem to be lacking in outfield prospects moving forward, but the thing is you have too many worthy infielders you can always move one to the outfield…

  56. What is Peanut doing? Has he conceded the trade has been finalized, or is he still sowing doubt?

  57. It doesn’t matter. If we don’t trade him to the Astros for prospects, we will trade him somewhere for prospects. It makes absolutely no difference where and for who.

    I really do appreciate the team crapping all over the fans by playing the stupidest, most unnecessary game in all of sports: the “we can’t possibly win long-term unless we intentionally make the team suck as much as possible short-term” game. It is not necessary to completely torpedo the team to rebuild the farm system, and it’s, in fact, really stupid. Because if we’re wrong about a sizable enough chunk of these prospects, we’ve just ensured that we’ll be a worthless baseball franchise for the next 10 freaking years! I know they wanna hit the reset button after the front office shakeup, but this is absurd.

  58. @EvanDrellich: Source: Astros-Braves Gattis deal, which is not completed, would include player/players not known at this point. We don’t have full picture.

  59. I’m a pretty big fan of the strategy the Braves have employed in picking up “damaged” prospects.

    If it weren’t for their injuries, a lot of these guys wouldn’t have been available AT ALL for the players we sent out, and instead most of these guys came with additional players.

    Prospect rankings are temporary and arbitrary. Unless you plan to trade the player, what you actually care about is the kind of Major Leaguer the player will be. The fact that a minor league has “lost stock” because he’s recovering from injury is like losing money “on paper.” You only actualize the loss if you sell. If we got the guys at a discounted price and they ultimately reach the same ceiling they would have, then we win big.

    When teams are over-valuing prospects, the way they have over the last few years, you can win big by being the one team willing to move your guys. But if you find yourself in need of prospects, in a market that is over-valuing prospects, this is as good a strategy as I can think of.

  60. @105

    Ding, ding, ding. The question is not contend or completely suck in baseball, it’s highly possible to field a competitive team and improve the farm system along the way. Investing in scouting and development is completely unrelated to paying major league players to play for your major league team. We may be chasing that 2017 white whale for long time if things don’t work out with these guys.

  61. MLBTR:
    5:18pm: Drellich also adds that the biggest concerns heading into Gattis’ physical are his back and right knee, and the concern is fairly significant. While Drellich’s previous report that we may not yet know the identity of all players in the deal created a wide range of speculation, he now adds that B.J. Upton is not in the deal. Astros righty Vincent Velasquez was discussed, however Drellich notes that Velasquez has his own health issues (All Twitter links).

    Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart tweets that Gattis is expected to play mostly left field in Houston, with occasional appearances at first base and catcher (assuming, of course, the deal is completed).

  62. I don’t know what the real stat is, but only 1 out of 5 of our acquisitions is going to contribute to the big club. Might as well get as many as we can.

    This season is going to be bad. With our pitching, we’re gonna lose a lot of 3-1 4-2 games.

    I’m not sure how the Braves could have retained their good players and rebuilt the farm. Please enlighten me.

  63. This is bs – the Braves could have fielded a team with gattis, heyward, and jupton if they had WANTED to. Imagine how good that team would have been. And what’s the deal with all these prospects- NONE of them are sure-fire major league all stars.

  64. @115

    Draft and develop better. “Rebuilding” the farm system is a misnomer, you don’t win anything for having a higher rank on Baseball America. The team was in first place in July it’s not inconceivable we would have made the playoffs if we’d added a couple decent hitters and a few guys have better years. Not saying it would have happened but even if it hadn’t it’s not like you can’t get roughly the same return here in July. Why did we have to do this now?

  65. We were in first place because the rest of the division sucked last year. Our pitching early on wasn’t sustainable.

    Also,You can’t get the same return in July. If a player is traded mid season that team can’t offer them a QO. So no draft compensation. They would be a 1 month rental.

  66. @119 Offseason ain’t over yet.

    So, mlbtraderumors says the Astros will use him primarily as a left fielder. Did no one need a catcher/dh?

  67. @122 – And that team got 204 quality innings from Aaron Harang and 196 from Ervin Santana. The 2015 team would need to find those 400 quality innings somewhere, and give every player on the roster a raise, just to get back to the lousy standard set by that 2014 team.

  68. Say we are a bottom 5 team in baseball next year, are draft picks protected if you sign Free Agents, like some guy named Upton or Heyward?

  69. Gotta chime in, prior to deal completion, to say I hate this as a Braves fan. Yeah, we get it, the team will suck next year regardless and we’re building for the future, yada yada, but give us SOMEONE to root for. As the expression goes, someone has to sell the jerseys. We now have Freeman, Teheran, Simmons, and Kimbrel to root for…and that’s it. I’m really going to miss watching Gattis crush a baseball in a Braves uni.

    Sucks.

  70. Does anyone know yet how these prospects slide into our rankings?

    So far, #3, 5, 9, 10, 14, 17, and 19, according to MLB.com, have been acquired this offseason. Could we potentially have 10 of our top 20 come this offseason?

  71. csg @122, go back and read @117 with a sarcasm tag. This is meant to point out the absurdity in the rending of garments over breaking up a 79 win team and the complaints that we didn’t get back can’t-miss superstars in return.

  72. @mlbbowman: With the flurry of moves, the #Braves feel they have gone from having a bottom five Minor League system to potentially a top five.

  73. Oh I’ll cheer for Wood too, and he is fairly exciting. It’s just frustrating to have so little to hope for on offense. I’ll miss Gattis.

    Gotta love those pitching prospects though, even if these are pre-Tommy John.

  74. @137
    I’m with Alex, not top 5. The Braves seem to have a habit of overselling stuff. Chip and Joe will talk the farm up all year. I look forward to stories about guy on the farm doing things “The Braves Way.”

  75. @117 – Read as sarcasm its funny.
    @118 – ‘The team was in first place in July it’s not inconceivable we would have made the playoffs if we’d added a couple decent hitters and a few guys have better years. ‘

    Full disclosure, I wanted the Braves to spend money and go for it in Heyward/JUptons last year as Braves but when it was evident the payroll wasn’t going to be increased the FO had no choice.
    Lets face it:
    A decent hitter cost 95 million dollars, see Sandoval, Pablo.
    We only had 3 pitchers.
    Even if a few guys had better years it might have meant that they just sucked less not that they would have been good.

    I wish we had gotten more hitting in the talent return, but who knows, in 2016/17 cost controlled pitching may be the new currency of the realm.

    edit: Alex Wood may be my new favorite Brave.

  76. Braves trying to spin this deal as getting “highly-touted prospects”? The stats of these guys look mediocre at best to me. F this, I’m out.

    RIP my Braves (and MLB) fandom, 1985-1/14/2015

    And I’m most certainly serious. I lived in Orlando for many years and rooted for the Magic — a team that was on the edge for many years but had a front office and bad luck that canceled out their good moves and good luck. Then the Dwight Howard debacle sickened me of the whole mess. I haven’t watched an NBA game since, and my life has been better for it.

  77. Not much in here on valuing this trade. Some people seemed to think value coming back is not sufficient for Gattis. Others seem to be so so. Nobody seems to think this was a haul.

    A rough shot.

    First, the mysterious inclusion of Hoyt. He is not the equal of even the lowest of the returnees, but he is close to Thurman. So, it is hard to say you got 3 prospects for Gattis, more like 2 and a half.

    “Low end Gattis” is a back up catcher, sometime DH (against lefties), emergency leftfielder, great RH pinchhitter. That is about 1 WAR per year.

    “High end Gattis” is a first string catcher with slightly below average defense and major plus offense for about 120 games a year AND a 20 times a year pinch hitter. That is about 4 WAR.

    Gattis is pre arb this year, with (a) 3 more arb years, (b) a right THEN to give a qualifying offer, and (c) IF he doesn’t take QO, a supplemental pick.

    “Low end Gattis” is a 2 to 3 year player as far as control. No way you offer ARB 3, then you don’t get to QO. Low end gets paid 3 mill for 2 years and produces 14. Then, he probably gets paid 5 mill and produces 7.

    “High end Gattis” is a 4 year player producing 112 mill in value for 20 mill. To me, this is a 10% chance of occurrence because of (a) health, (b) unwillingness to risk health, and (c) the tendency to overplay defense at catcher (all other things being adjusted accurately).

    I do not know why Houston seems to think Gattis will play left field. There is no way his defense there can suddenly get that much better. His offense may be a little better over the next few years (he has had so little development that with his power he can probably add walks and ba and iso in small doses each). BUT, a WRC + of over 125 is VERY unrealistic. So, you balance that against the big lost runs on defense, and I don’t see how he generates even 2 WAR. If his offense advances that much, he would still be worth 2 WAR in the event he is used like “Low end Gattis.” So, if I was Houston and wanted Gattis in left, I wouldn’t have given this much.

    So, I am left with the conclusion that almost NO AL teams felt that Gattis could catch full time and the ones that considered the back up catcher occasional DH etc. thought his offense had peaked OR that the injury risk was too great.

    To me, the haul is not sufficient for Gattis. I figured Correia wastoo high. But after that, with Appel’s struggles, he should have been available. I would have held him and deal him at the deadline. I would have started Gattis at catcher.

  78. @145 Good. Now go root for the Red Sox.

    I suffered through the ’70’s and the ’80’s and that was nowhere near as bad as what fans in the Boston years had to deal with. So the team is rebuilding. If that’s too much for you then you have bigger problems than your Braves fandom.

  79. The only thing to be upset about is the Braves’ decision to tear it down, if that’s your bag. (It’s my bag.)

    But the return on the trades, hitting and pitching, has been pretty darn good. Nothing to be upset about there.

  80. Nobody seems to think this was a haul.

    @Buster_ESPN: Keith Law loved the Gattis trade for the Braves: http://t.co/Sr7u01BeBp

    @JonHeymanCBS: Today’s observations: liked braves haul, clippard a big plus for a’s, nats shored up infield but need back-end pen piece.

  81. The Braves developed a fine cohort of pitchers and position players at the same time. This fan anyway thought that with proper management and tweaking this would be the basis for a continued run of success. Because of a bad FA signing, a bad extension, and payroll intransigence, this has been dismantled. The management decision has been to construct a team will definitely be bad in ’15 against the promise that they might be good in 17, with no particular reason to think this is probable, and plenty of reason to think that a multi year slide is on the horizon. From a fan perspective, that’s quite a good reason to get upset.

  82. It’s your problem if you can’t get excited about trades where we merely get equivalent value in return.

    FWIW, Appel’s results were underwhelming overall, but much better in Double A, especially if you check under the hood. His process was particularly good in Double A as well. If the Astros were to sell low on him at this point, it’d probably be for makeup concerns (some people seem to think he’s a wuss), and for a whole set a reasons (one being the Astros already look douchey enough, with regards to their dealings with young players), it’d be unlikely that they’d trade him now.

    The point is, Appel’s massive upside is very much intact. To acquire Appel for an injury-prone player who, though powerful, doesn’t walk much and looks like a soon-to-be-DH would certainly qualify as a steal for us.

  83. If my eyes don’t deceive me we have a NEW THREAD.

    @csg, Yeah, and I saw your post before you put in the tweets, which made it all make sense.

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