The Jadeite Jewel Consolation Bracket: Round Two

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.
Your votes have chosen the top two plays, but we have all had to mourn favorite plays falling by the wayside in the process. Several plays received such adulation from Braves Journal voters that it seemed a pity to not give them their proper due before we anoint the grand champion. Some of your most beloved plays (as indicated in past votes) are back, to help us determine the ranking of Simmons’s top ten plays.

Consolation Bracket: The Jeter vs. The Video Game

The Jeter

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.

Previous Appearance: The Jeter beat Glove: Optional 18-14 in the first round of the consolation bracket.

The Video Game

Editor’s pitch: The video is worth a thousand words of commentary, so just watch it again. Okay, now watch it one more time. Can a mere mortal even bend like that? He’s covering the bag, bends against his momentum to catch the ball, and then flips back to tag the base. The baserunner was already running and was nearly on top of him…and he got the out. This play defies the laws of physics and it made his pitcher laugh in disbelief. The cherry on top is he tried to turn the double play and was disgusted with himself that he couldn’t. Unbelievable.

Previous appearance: The Video Game lost to Shortstop…or Left Fielder? 30-20.

33 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel Consolation Bracket: Round Two”

  1. Continued in response to Tad on prior thread:

    @36, will Callaspo make the team? I mean, strictly using Chris Johnson vs LHP is terrific, since hitting lefties is the only thing he does remotely well. But, is Callaspo even passable at anything right now? He’s managed to compile a .396 OPS (.196 of which is his OBP) in a fair number of spring AB’s (45), failing to draw even one measley walk despite having non-roster invitees still trying to find the strike zone against him. It was a fair gamble to sign him, since he was a valuable player not that long ago, but he has apparently not been doing anything that might help him return to form. Time to cut our losses. I’d rather give those AB’s to Goose, KJ, or even this Ciriaco fellow. Can KJ still play 3rd?

  2. @37, previous thread

    My pleasure, of course. JJschiller did some of the legwork last season, too.

  3. Agreed on Callaspo. I don’t know what the Braves will do. I was hoping they would cut him before March 20. Apparently it would have cost the Braves $500k to cut him before the 20th and $750k between now and April 5. My guess is they’ll try to keep him. It’s not something I’m happy about.

  4. Both Bowman and DOB have stated that Callaspo’s contract is a guaranteed 3 million, therefore the above statement @3 doesn’t come into effect this time. They’re either keeping Callaspo, or eating his 3 million like he ate hamburgers this offseason.

  5. If the choice is a CJ/Callaspo platoon vs CJ starting 150 games, it’s probably a wash, but if it’s a CJ/Callaspo vs CJ/KJ/Goose platoon, I’d happily take the latter. Classic illustration of “sunk cost” principle. We can pay callaspo to cost us wins or we can pay him to not cost us wins–same price either way.

  6. @4 – Everything I’ve read says the terms of Callaspo’s contract are unclear related to the CBA. Tomahawk Take doesn’t dispute that the contract is guaranteed, there are just some obscure contract rules that bring whether the Braves will owe the entire amount if they cut him into question. As I said, it’s probably a moot point. Whether they’ll owe him $750k or $3 mil, I don’t see them cutting him.

  7. Dodgers get Olivera. 6/62.

    I thought Olivera would have been a good pickup for the Braves, but I’m glad they didn’t go that long. Even if Olivera is a star right now, I’m not sure he has six years of star-caliber play left in him.

  8. 5 — Gosselin is right-handed and a weaker hitter than Regression. If Regression is platooning with KJ then that’s another thing.

    Unfortunately, I bet either KJ gets cut or Fredi uses him strictly as a PH/corner OF.

  9. @8, but what if I realize all those things? Did you consider that?

    Gosselin is a much better fielder who handled RHP fine at AAA and didn’t have a split in a small sample of MLB. Chris Johnson would be something like a -3 WAR player if he only hit against RHP. Platooning him with a replacement level RH 3B wouldn’t be that bad an idea. It isn’t as much about what Gosselin provides against RHP but getting Chris Johnson’s abject suckage out of the lineup against RHP by replacing it with just about anyone.

  10. P.S.: I realize that Fredi would never do that because it wouldn’t dawn on him that a replacement level RH 3B is actually far better than Chris Johnson against a RH starter.

  11. I see what you’re saying about Regression but Gosselin isn’t the answer. He’s just a run of the mill backup IF.

  12. Lesser of the evils? Definitely wouldn’t say he’s “the answer”. I like KJ a lot–always thought he’d be better than he ended up being and that he’d be a career Brave. Couple years ago, he could be a serious platoon option. Not sure if he can still play. I’m hoping to see Jace Peterson over there with Peraza at 2B in a few months (assuming Jace can play 3B–only seen him at 2B so far).

  13. @#1 … Im thinking Callaspo contract guranteed .. but I like Cirianco bteer too but he is RH .. I think they need to platoon CJ and somebody … KJ cant play 3rd anymore I dont think .. he is a sub outfielder, 1B and PH … so we may be stuck with Callaspo .. I would not want him platooning with J Peterson right now … CJ did have a good at bat today .. maybe he plays against LH and RH with occasional off say …. will they keep a 3rd catcher (Buck) ?? looks like TERDO is maybe gonna get released .. is he out of options ??? and what about Almonte and Cunningham who makes it ???

  14. @13 – Ciriaco is most likely a great example of why you don’t put much stock in spring training stats. Over 8 minor league seasons he has career numbers of .275 / .301 /.362. He had a career year last year in AAA, but a .302 average with a .322 OBP doesn’t usually translate well to MLB.

    Ciriaco has had a good spring, but all that should get him IMO is some extra time in the minors to see if that’s sustainable (90% probability the answer is no). My guess is that the guy can hit a fastball, but not much else. He has a career OPS of .832 during spring training for 5 different ML teams. He had a 1.096 OPS for Boston in 2012 over 26 ST games.

  15. Looking closer at things Ciriaco had a good year for a shortstop over 76 games and over 200 ABs with Boston in 2012 – .293 avg with a .705 OPS. 2013 an 2014 were Melvin Upton bad, but still a fairly small sample. I hate his OBP, but again if he can put up something close to a .705 OPS, he will probably be slightly better than CJ and/or Callaspo. I wouldn’t want to chance it for several months.

  16. A small sample is just that — a small sample. Pedro Ciriaco is a 29-year old with a career batting line of .270/.299/.372 in 498 major league plate appearances, and a .275/.301/.362 in 3888 minor league plate appearances.

    That is who he is: a bad hitter.

  17. I thought when you had a shortstop with a .660 career OPS, you were supposed to sign him to a long term deal and labeled him untouchable.

  18. Except for Justin Upton (whom we wanted nothing to do with and traded), our starting lineup all had down years and most had their worst offensive season at ages where you would expect their production to be trending upward. Of course, offense was down league-wide last year, but has there ever been a team that had all 8 regulars underperform by their career norms and previous seasons AND be all under the age of 30? That’s a Jayson Stark question.

  19. @18 If you recognize there’s more than one skill involved in the game, and that he does one of them so far and beyond anyone else that it more than makes up for what he lacks elsewhere, then yes, yes you god damn well do. Or you feign ignorance for the sake of a sarcastic quip.

  20. @19 Not all of our regular starters underperformed at the plate in 2014… Freeman, JUp, and Gattis all exceeded their career average wRC+ in 2014. I will note, however, that we traded away every non-Freeman hitter who exceeded 100 wRC+ (defined as “average hitting production, league and park adjusted”) in 2014, so even if the Braves get nice seasons from Simmons and Regression and Cakes in 2015, we’re not looking at a good offense – and probably not even an average offense.

  21. 21 — 4 out of 8…minus JUp, Heyward, Gattis, and La Stella.

    Speaking of La Stella, that’s one trade that Hart might have screwed the pooch on.

  22. I wouldn’t worry so much about trading away LaStella – granted, he has a great BB/K rate but every other part of his game is weak enough that he doesn’t really project as a regular. His skills don’t really lend themselves to defensive sub (his D isn’t better than the starters) or bench bat (no power) either. The fear, obviously, is that he turns into the Cubs’ version of Matt Carpenter – seems unlikely though, given La Stella’s relative lack of power and athleticism.

  23. Video game. Sorry, ububba, but it would be a sin against God and my southern upbringing to vote for anything named after a mediocre defensive damn yankee shortstop.

    Aruba is the place to be. Touring the island, we saw pickup baseball games in progress both Monday and Tuesday. I think the Braves should make me their resident scout here. Any chance, you reckon?

  24. 28 – I hear you… but I still voted for “The Jeter”. I love that play, and also, it was a true game-saver.

  25. @28 I was worried I may have doomed that play with that title, but it has polled very well every round (and was only kicked out of the main bracket by one point to a play that has made it to the championship round). Jeter was just so known for that type of play, though…you’d have thought he patented it. I couldn’t resist throwing that title on.

    Because we’re trying to wrap this up by Opening Day, the time the polls are staying open is a little more condensed for the consolation bracket. This one is only open for a few more minutes…someone needs to break the tie ASAP!

  26. When I first viewed this thread yesterday, the poll was not set up yet so I couldn’t vote. And then I forgot that I had not voted. Sorry for the delay.

  27. People keep talking about how bad Goose and Ciriaco are. I think everyone knows how bad they are. They just realize that Chris Johnson, when facing a RH pitcher, is the worst starter in baseball, unless it’s Callaspo.

    I mean, if you’re going to have someone posting a .560 OPS at 3B vs RHP, he may as well be a slick fielder….

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