The Jadeite Jewel Consolation Bracket: Round Four

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 Video Game vs. Glove: Optional
 
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 beat Run At Your Own Risk in the third round of the consolation bracket.

Glove: Optional

Editor’s Pitch: In Minnesota this year, that will be a hit against Ervin Santana. Last year in Atlanta it was top of the 5th, one down. The catch itself is insane enough, with Simmons making the call to barehand it to give himself a chance to throw the runner out. Then, when the ball bounced slightly differently than he seemed to be anticipating, he stayed with it and nailed the runner with a perfect throw. Perfection on a diamond.

Previous Appearance: Glove: Optional beat Superman in the third round of the consolation bracket.

28 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel Consolation Bracket: Round Four”

  1. Victor Caritini got us a half season of Bonifacio not knowing how to use his limbs and a half season of a LOOGY. Time will tell if we lost this trade.

  2. Pretty surprised that we released Russell. I fully expected us to give him time to turn it around before releasing him and eating 600k. His velocity must be way down.

  3. Apparently Joe Benson is back in the mix for the CF backup role. Safe to assume Cunningham won’t be making the roster

    Edit: and as I say that…

    @DOBrienAJC: By now it’s obvious he’s not prominent in them “@gaaronkirby: @DOBrienAJC Is Cunningham just not in their plans?”

  4. I’m surprised to see the Russell move. One would think that he’d have enough value to pursue a trade.

  5. I suppose,’Rissa, that your next project will be Andrelton’s spring training highlights. He’s sort of the never ending story.

  6. They would pay Russell 600k to not pitch than pay him 2.5 million to be replacement level.

    Can we have Victor Caratini back?

  7. @6 I’m definitely glad I stuck to games that counted toward something (I guess would be a good way to phrase it since I included the WBC clip), because he’s made several plays this spring that would otherwise render this contest outdated before we even finish it. His catch in left field yesterday was especailly incredible (as the victim of Sam Holbrook’s infield fly call, I guess he learned personally that balls hit to left like that are the responsibility of the shortstop!) As it is, I fully expect him to do something incredible Opening Day and make all of our hard work this winter be relevant for only a few hours. On a similar note, every “recommended viewing” clip on my YouTube has Andrelton Simmons’s name on it, but I’m okay with that since any clip of him playing defense is worth watching over and over again.

    @5 Are we absolutely sure they haven’t?

  8. @5, 8,

    Season starts soon. A quick peak behind the left-center field seats ought to tell us.

  9. Okay, I think this is an appropriate time to share news about another exciting pro league with an opening day coming up soon:

    http://www.atlantahustle.com/2015-hustle/

    (There’s a link to the schedule if you click around there, too.)

    I know both coaches a little (Miranda was in my Outkast group last fall). Of the players, I did undergrad at UGA at the same time as #78 Dylan Tunnell. He’s been a world-class talent in the sport since he was about 16–that’s ~15 years ago now and he’s lost a half-step, but he’s a wonderful, wonderful player. Did undergrad with #12 Frank Wooten, too, he was always called the Sea Monster. He’s not Tunnell caliber, but he’s not bad either.

    #42 Devin Cox is a friend and Monday night teammate of mine (and Game, Blauser’s); he graduated from Georgia last spring. Would have played some club with Murmur this spring if he hadn’t made Hustle. We might still get him on an off-weekend this fall.

    #17 Ryan James is a new teammate/friend of mine. I think he’s in school at one of the North Georgia campuses right now. He’s 19. He has a very small puppy named Bowser.

    At the bottom of the screen are some names without pictures; these guys are sort of like the filled-out 40-man roster who can be added to the playing roster from time to time. #30 Ben Breault plays in the Classic City, too, and, with apologies to Devin and Ryan, I think he’s the best of the bunch. Working stiff these days, did his undergrad at Valdosta State, insane work ethic, great guy, not much taller than me–which I suspect is the reason he’s not one of the regulars.

    First game @ Raleigh on April 11th will be on ESPN3–Raleigh and Atlanta figure to be the two top teams in the division.

    Home games will mostly be played at the Grady High School (Dylan Tunnell coaches the Grady team). First one’s against Jacksonville on Sunday, April 26th. I will almost certainly be there. Seems like single-game tickets are $10.

    It’s worth a look for those of you unfamiliar with the sport. Alright, promotion/name-dropping session over.

  10. @DOBrienAJC: #Braves optioned RHR Arodys Vizcaino to Triple-A and reassigned RHR Michael Kohn to minor league camp.

  11. @13: relief pitching is “fungible” doncha know, until you don’t have enough, and then it’s worth trading promising young position players for.

  12. The Marlins have released Reed Johnson. I’m not certain the Braves have reached their Johnson quota for the roster yet…

  13. @15, I was actually thinking of Caratini, but I did hate the La Stella trade (even though I think he’s just a 2 WAR second baseman–we sure coulda used a 2 WAR second baseman for the last 2 seasons).

  14. I actually disagree there. La Stella still has a decent chance of turning into a valuable backup infielder, and some possibility of turning into a second division starter. You know, a 1.5-2.0 win player. That’s valuable.

  15. BTW, there’s good news for the Falcons–they will only lose a 5th round draft pick in 2016. Some of us were fretting over losing a 2nd or 3rd rounder and possibly even in this year’s draft.

  16. I didn’t mind the Caratini trade because I remember the Max Ramirez-Bob Wickman trade. Ramirez never came back to bite us. Even Tyler Flowers and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who are decent players now, are hardly good enough to make us regret trading them. The Braves have had a pretty good track record of trading away catchers who don’t turn into All-Stars.

    Of course, if Caratini proves the exception, I’ll immediately commence being annoyed. But they’ve earned some trust. The one thing Wren inarguably did well was trades.

  17. @18, 19

    What y’all are describing is valuable; I just don’t think it describes Tommy LaStella. I don’t like his bat at all and I like his glove even less. But he’s a good kid. I’ll be glad to eat my words on this one if he turns it around.

    Re: Caratini, I don’t know the first thing about him, and I don’t know anyone who does. Hard for me to take up an opinion on the exchange of talent there. From a competition standpoint? We were 1.5 games back of the Nationals and tied for the 2nd wild card (http://www.baseball-reference.com/games/standings.cgi?year=2014&month=7&day=31&submit=Submit+Date). It may have all blown up on us, but it’s hard to fault the organization for trying to get an edge by moving a lower-tier prospect.

  18. @22, my larger point is that reliable relief pitching, though frequently described as fungible, can at times seem somewhat scarce and force a team into tough decisions. Whether it was reasonable to trade TLS or VC, given the circumstances, is a different question. And I would agree with you that making a trade for a bat and an arm in the playoff chase last year was very reasonable.

    Off topic: Woo-hoo, Braves win and inch closer to a .500 spring (which matters…a lot…just trust me)

    Todd Cunningham got on base 4 times in 5 appearances which has to strengthen his case to make the team. Also Jace Peterson got 3 hits including a double. I like both of those kids–good guys.

    Eric Stults came out of the pen dealing for 5 scoreless innings, which also has to strengthen his case. Do he and Wandy both make the team? I think it’s tricky because of the 40-man, and some expect Wandy to be traded. I dunno.

    Also, go check out the video on Bethancourt’s opposite field HR on a low-and-away pitch.

  19. It looks like the union is going to try and close the loophole whereby teams can gain additional years of control over players by delaying their major league debuts. This could be important for the Braves down the line, given the emphasis they’re placing on prospects currently. The Braves have not shown a willingness to use that particular tactic in the past (Heyward, Freeman, and Teheran all started the year with the big club), but they were trying to compete then. And of course it was under old management.

  20. The Rolling Stone is predicting that the Braves finish 92 and 70. Probably an indicator that they should stick to music or that they’re stoned (imagine that) but I hope they’re right.

  21. @24 It’s not a loophole, it’s the predictable incentives in the system they agreed to. They can try all they want to assert that they know better how to manage a team, but they will lose.

    It might be an issue for the next CBA, but even then I’m not sure what they think would be better. If you want to have guaranteed raises based on service time, there’s going to have to be a cutoff point during the season at which it’s not counted as a full season. And for balance reasons there’s no way the league is going to do away with a period of control and just go straight to free agency. In other words, it’s nothing but posturing on the part of MLBPA.

  22. Can Cunningham really play center that well? I keep hearing code phrases like “fundamentally sound”

    Sure hands aren’t exactly the key to playing a good CF.

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