Thursday, November 12, 2015

Braves trade Andrelton Simmons

Yes, I know. We have the sads that Simba will be leaving the Braves for two LA Angels prospects and Erick Aybar who will take over the SS role. The prospects are Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis who are reported the top two pitchers in the Angels system. Now, if you're looking for huge splash return for Simba? You didn't get that and you're pissed. If you're looking for a solid GM move that likely helps the WOEFUL pitching staff last year? You got a lot of help there.

Here's the thing. I loved watching Simmons play defense. He was the best defensive SS I've seen since I saw Ozzie Smith. But the problem that you will all remember if you take off the rose-colored glasses is that Simmons just couldn't provide much help hitting the ball. His OPS over the last two years was .617 and .660, and if you don't know that's freaking awful. Now, most SS's don't hit the ball well, so average offense is expected, but Simmons is probably mid-tier at best in the MLB when it comes to production.

Now, Aybar who will be replacing him isn't much better offensively, and he's slightly older, and he's nowhere near as spectacular with the glove. Obviously, he's a worse player than Simmons or they wouldn't have tossed in top prospects with the trade. Aybar is a lesser player, but he's a passable SS with good enough defense and he hasn't been any worse with the bat than Simmons. So, in my mind you're losing Simmons defense highlight reel, but it's a wash in the offensive department and you're getting more pitching for the future.

What about the pitchers? Sean Newcomb is a 22 year old 6'5" left-handed pitcher out of Massachusetts. He's a big boy who pitched his way into AA ball in the span of 2 years. The Scouting report on Newcomb is that he has a great fastball that starts in the low 90s and can get up to the high 90s on effort pitches. He has good stamina and can maintain velocity well as he goes later into games. Solid mechanics, and he's 245 pounds with apparently some ability to continue to add weight and strength to his game. That could be huge to have a power pitching lefty in the Braves arsenal.

Chris Ellis is a 23 year old 6'4" righty out of Alabama. Another tall guy with a gun. Like Newcomb he's got the 90s fastball velocity, but he lacks the control. That's something that Roger will have to work on with Ellis if he gets up to the majors quickly, but he's also playing in just AA ball right now. They'll both have to spend some time at AAA Gwinnett before they really get a chance to see time at the MLB level. I'm not sure we'll see them in 2016 at the last year of the Ted, but I'm certain we will see at least one of them in 2017 in the new ballpark, if not both.


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