The Braves took a lot of heat for trading Andrelton Simmons last winter. He seemed like a player who would be worth keeping as the club aimed to be competitive in 2017, and gloves like his don't grow on trees.
Through the first month of the 2016 season, Simmons is on pace for the worst year of his career by far. Yes, it's still early. We should probably write "...but it's still early" after every sentence up until June. But for a player who has seen his offensive numbers decrease every year since his rookie campaign, there should be plenty of concern in Anaheim.
Simmons is batting .215/.236/.280 through 28 games. His wRC+ is 44. He still isn't walking or striking out. He isn't hitting the ball well; his soft-hit percentage (22.8%) is the worst of his career, as is his hard-hit percentage (20.8%). He has been a bit unlucky with a .220 BABIP, but if you're not hitting the ball hard, that tends to be the case.
His defense is still really good, though. There is a lot of value in that, even if there is a chance it starts to decline a bit as he ages. And he could always pick up his production at the plate. He may be pressing a bit with a new team. He may still be getting familiar with Angels Stadium. One bad month does not mean his career is in jeopardy, but the Angels have to be concerned.
Sean Newcomb was the major piece the Braves received for the Gold Glover, and there have been mixed results with Mississippi. Newcomb's ERA is just 2.84 through five starts, and he's striking out nearly a batter per inning. He's only 22 and should continue to improve. The biggest issue with him -- as it has been at every level of the minors -- is walking people. He's walked 17 through 25.1 innings, which is 6.04 BB/9. That won't get it done at the higher levels.
Chris Ellis was far from a throw-in, though he wasn't nearly as highly regarded as Newcomb. Ellis has been terrific with Mississippi so far with a 1.84 ERA through five starts. He's striking out batters at a decent rate and has cut down on walks after last year's stint with the Angels' Double-A affiliate. He projects as a back-end starter, and there is plenty of value in that.
Erick Aybar has been bad. The Braves never viewed him as a long-term option, but he was expected to contribute this season. John Coppolella has to hope Aybar gives the club *something* before the trade deadline.
It remains to be seen if the Braves got enough in return for Simmons, but the trade looks to be a favorable one for Atlanta. But, you know, it's still early.