The Jadeite Jewel Consolation Bracket: The Championship

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 Championship: The Jeter vs. You Shall Not Pass

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 edged out The Video Game in the second round of the consolation bracket.

You Shall Not Pass

Editor’s Pitch: I’m really not sure how Simmons got to this ball. He had to dive, obviously, but then he had to reach up to actually catch it. I wouldn’t have guessed his arms were long enough to make this play, but the one lesson I have learned from watching Andrelton for three years is to always expect the impossible. And this certainly looks impossible.

Previous appearance: You Shall Not Pass beat Superman in the second round of the consolation bracket.

58 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel Consolation Bracket: The Championship”

  1. Had to go with the Jeter. The extraordinary range and arm are on full display. But it was tough to decide.

  2. So tuff. I’ll go with you shall not pass. It was such a crazy stab on a ball that was hammered.

    I wonder if on a different day I would’ve chosen the other play. This seems like flipping a coin.

  3. Relevant little nugget from a much longer Bill James piece today:

    “Bob Elliott, meanwhile, won the Most Valuable Player Award in his first season with the Braves (1947). He was the first third baseman in either league to win the MVP Award—either the BBWAA award or any of its predecessor awards–and he was the first Braves’ player to win the MVP Award since Johnny Evers with the Miracle Braves back in 1914. He followed up the MVP season with another season just as good. In 1948 he drew 131 walks, which was a record for the Braves’ franchise and remains their record to this day, although I am optimistic that Andrelton Simmons will break it this year; he just needs to increase his walk total by 100.”

  4. Boy, it is hard to watch ESPN, even for a minute, fawn all over Jameis Winston & FSU. I get that he’ll be the 1st draft pick & that’s legit news, but to see his coach & the ESPN commentators gloss over his character/legal issues, while detailing his dropback techniques is a little tough to take.

    For me, I’m afraid he’s always going to be like Michael Vick was for animal lovers. Whenever I see him on TV, I’m going to think of one thing, and it ain’t football.

  5. I’m still not convinced that Winston will be a great pro – not even as good as Michael Vick in his prime.

    On a much more positive note, I saw an interview with Andrelton Simmons explaining his footwork at short. I was about as impressed as I could have been from a short interview like that. He was very well spoken and I didn’t see any evidence of arrogance or cockiness. I haven’t seen him interviewed a lot and it was kind of refreshing to see him. Definitely seems like someone easy to root for.

  6. @26 from the previous thread — It’s possible the union could try and push back the deadline to the point where a team that thinks it might compete wouldn’t want to wait that long. Like with the Cubs — even if they think they’re for real, they can live without Bryant for two weeks — but if they needed to wait until July to call him up to get that extra year, maybe they’re having second thoughts about how much that year is worth to them.

    Of course this probably won’t come up until the next CBA negotiation — but I bet it does come up then.

  7. @10 Seems a reasonable possibility. Though I’m not sure if the Cubs really, truly expect to compete this year.

  8. ESPN’s counting down their top-100 players heading into the season. In a surprise move, they’ve ranked Julio Teheran 71st AND 46th. Impressive debuts, Julio!

    Other notables:
    #60, Justin Upton
    #58, Andrelton
    #52, Heyward
    #38, Freeman
    #26, Kimbrel

    Just a weird way to make this list, in that of those 6 Braves/Former Braves, Kimbrel’s the last guy I want on my team, electrifying as he may be.

  9. One week from today the Braves play for real. I hope they play up to the Rolling Stone prediction.

  10. #7
    If Michael Vick had tortured & killed animals in Tallahassee as member of the FSU football team, he might not have even been prosecuted.

    If he ever grows up, I think Winston could be a good pro. He’s been compared to Ben Roethlisberger… in more ways than one.

  11. @12, I saw that. I wonder if Alex Wood was supposed to be 71st. It would be a little high, but reasonable given his WAR. That would be 7 players in the top 71…2014 Braves had a lot of talent :(

    I wonder who has a chance to make that list for the first time next year. Alex Wood is the best candidate. After that, it’s hard to conceive of another. Maybe Jace Peterson blows it up and hits/fields all season like he did in spring training? Maybe Shelby Miller REALLY puts it all together? Christian Bethancourt just blows away all expectations? This is a depressing exercise…

  12. @12 For comparison, here’s where they were on MLB Network’s list from a month ago.

    #85. Simmons
    #78. Teheran
    #67. Freeman
    #44. Heyward
    #37. JUpton
    #34. Kimbrel

  13. Does anyone, anywhere, really believe that Kimbrel is the 26th or 34th best player in baseball? How do conclusions like this happen?

  14. @19, I wish. Then we could trade him for the 27th best player in baseball, which ESPN says is Carlos Gomez. I mean, it’s a good deal for them getting the 26th best player for only the 27th best player. I might even take the 42nd best player, Anthony Rendon, in exchange for him.

  15. @mlbbowman: OF Zoilo Almonte passed through waivers (was placed on Sunday) and was outrighted to Triple-A Gwinnett today.

  16. #21
    Certainly a windfall for manufacturers of booze & stun guns, not to mention defense lawyers. For security guards… not so much.

  17. Interesting news on Almonte. I was assuming all along that he would make the team. I never considered him clearing waivers.

  18. @24
    I felt the same way. Perhaps people following the 2015 Braves spring training have a skewed concept of what a valuable outfielder is.
    I guess Opie makes as much sense as anyone. He hits from both sides of the plate, plays all three OF positions and can run a little bit. He’s probably the best complement to the starting OF mix. Former twins CF prospect Joe Benson is also somehow a late charging dark horse. Gosselin isn’t very exciting, but he probably deserves a shot.

  19. I’m still not entirely sure that Toscano isn’t an elaborate hoax. I half expect to hear that the Braves sent someone to check on him and found only a bunch of deserted offices.

  20. I don’t remember anybody pointing this out, so if I am a plagiarist, it is unintentionally.

    But this year’s Braves team seems a whole lot like the fake Cleveland Indians in “Major League.”

    So, maybe we can “employee lease” Uecker from the Brewers to give the right perspective to the season.

    Some possible connections:

    Wild Thing: Folty
    Former stripper owner: Liberty Media (the porn empire)
    Willie Mays Hayes: Eric Young, Jr.

  21. @33, You know, ML was on TBS or something this past weekend and I was explaining the story to my wife who had never seen the movie. She said “so a lot like what the Braves are doing”.

    @34, we don’t have a good candidate for Cerrano because he was a high-K power hitter who never could stick bc he couldn’t hit the curveball. We got rid of all those. Maybe Johnny Gomes as just a weird outfielder?

    Aging, balky catcher (tom berenger): AJP
    Tempermental 3B (dorn): Chris Johnson
    Traded all-star who comes back to haunt us: Heyward
    Washed up starting pitcher: Wandy/Stults

  22. I think Chris Johnson should be referred to as “Dorn” moving forward.

    We don’t see Heyward enough for him to haunt us. If we did, we could just bring in a lefty to shut him down. Wait we don’t have any that can throw strikes.

  23. @32: Anyone who pulls off a Bojack Horseman reference like that in a Braves Journal thread is fine by me.

  24. @32, @37 Seconded! It’s crucially important to line up quality diversions like Bojack Horsemen for when you hit that “I just can’t watch the Braves anymore” wall.

  25. Maybe if we put a Jobu statue with a good cigar and some good whisky behind the mound, we won’t be the worst team in baseball.

  26. Funny the ML references. I have decided this is the perfect spring to introduce my daughters (both huge Braves fans) to Major League, if only for the opening scenes where the locals are talking about how much the team is going to stink. For them it’s the first time in their life to enter a season with little to no expectations – something I think that is good for someone’s fandom, to be honest. Being a Yankee fan seems like you don’t even have to try…

    Ashamed I had not made the Johnson / Dorn connection….

  27. @47, this is terrible news. Giving the frediot a lefty reliever with a reverse split is asking for trouble, nay, demanding trouble.

  28. @33 – I’ve been commenting that Andrelton swings like Willie Mays Hayes for some time now.

  29. MUJ is Mays Hayes right? A speedy outfielder who pops the ball up all the time?

  30. @39 “Come on Dorn, get in front of the damn ball! Don’t give me this olé bullshit!”

  31. They could always bring back Livan Hernandez, Jorge Campillo, John Burkett,,Buddy Carlyle, et al for the Eddie Harris role.

  32. If Fredi were to drop trou and take a whiz over some of these contracts, he would earn my undying gratitude!

  33. @50, I actually think having Mudge do pushups every time he hits the ball in the air isn’t a bad idea. It’s been my opinion for some time that he’d do better as a slap hitter.

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