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2018 Atlanta Braves player review: Lucas Sims

Lucas Sims began the season at Gwinnett and would finish it as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. The time in between wasn’t very memorable but there were enough flashes to hope that a change of scenery might do him good.

Sims rode the shuttle between Gwinnett and Atlanta for much of 2018 but was unable to find a regular role. He most served as a mop-up guy in long relief which isn’t really a gateway to anything permanent.

Sims was used as a starter at Gwinnett and performed well posting a 2.84 ERA (3.69 FIP) in 73 innings. He made six appearances with Atlanta allowing 10 hits and nine earned runs in 10 and a third innings.

The Braves sent Sims along with Matt Wisler and Preston Tucker to the Reds in exchange for outfielder Adam Duvall on July 30. He made five starts for the Reds in Triple-A before making three relief appearances in the majors. In a small sample with his new club, he didn’t fare much better than with his old club, allowing three hits and four earned runs in five and a third innings.

Sims was the Braves’ No. 1 pick in 2012 out of Georgia Southern. His future may be as a reliever but it had become clear that it wasn’t going to be in Atlanta so the move to Cincinnati provides him a chance to reset and a fresh start.

What did he do in 2018? Put up solid numbers in Triple-A but was unable to find a role in Atlanta before being traded to Cincinnati. In the majors, he had both surface stats and peripherals too dreadful to repeat here, but suffice to say, he walked over 15 percent of the hitters he faced as a Brave, and that only went up to an even 20 percent after he was traded. While he wasn’t one of the few Braves to finish 2018 with a negative K%-BB%, it was still bad. Really bad.

Will he be on the roster next year? Nope, he didn’t even finish 2018 on the roster.

What will he do next year? Will go to Spring Training looking to earn a spot on the Reds’ pitching staff.

Highlight of 2018: He threw a clean, 1-2-3 inning in Boston in May, with three groundouts. It was his only outing all season where he didn’t walk anyone, and he was the only Braves’ starter on the day to retire all the batters he faced. (Every other Atlanta pitcher in that game other than Dan Winkler gave up runs, too.)

Lowlight of 2018: This wasn’t really a very Sims-specific lowlight, but he was intimately involved nonetheless. On June 25, the Braves had a two-run lead over the Reds heading into the top of the sixth. The Braves pulled Mike Foltynewicz from the game after five innings… and inserted Lucas Sims.

Part of what was incredible about this is that the Cincy hitters due up were L-L-R-L, and Sims throws with his right arm. In addition, the hitters due up were none other than Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett, Eugenio Suarez, and Jesse Winker, none of whom are exactly liver of the chopped variety. Sims gave up a single. Then another single. Then a third single. Then he walked in a run. The Braves let him persevere, despite said walking in a run. He finally regrouped to get three outs, though one of those was a groundout from eventual-trade-return Adam Duvall that tied the game.

Confusingly, the Braves then asked Sam Freeman to pitch the next inning against another procession of mostly lefties. They ended up winning the game on an Ozzie Albies walkoff homer. That was Sims’ last appearance as a Brave.

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