Atlanta Braves: Ozzie Albies Ready to Shine in a Shortened Season

SARASOTA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 20: Ozzie Albies #1 of the Atlanta Braves looks on during a team workout at CoolToday Park on February 20, 2020 in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
SARASOTA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 20: Ozzie Albies #1 of the Atlanta Braves looks on during a team workout at CoolToday Park on February 20, 2020 in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

It is no secret that Atlanta Braves’ silver-slugging and all-star second baseman Ozzie Albies is a speedy, base-hit machine with an excellent glove.

With his ludicrously undervalued contract, Ozzie Albies has been an invaluable addition to the Atlanta Braves. With baseball finally underway, how will he fare in an unprecedented 60-game season?

Tomahawk Take’s own Daniel Rasmussen put it best in his breakout player report: “In a sprint instead of a marathon, [Ozzie] is one of Atlanta’s best sprinters.”

And for good reason. With his excellent early-season numbers in the past, second baseman Ozhaino Albies could be in for a monster sprint.

His “streaky” nature on offense could admittedly be off-putting for some. For example, here are Ozzie’s numbers through the first three months of 2019 (according to Baseball Reference):

 2019 Statistics Through March, April, and May:

Statistical CategoryOzzie AlbiesLeague Average

And here are Ozzie’s numbers through the following three months (According to Baseball Reference):

2019 Statistics through June, July, and August:

Statistical CategoryOzzie AlbiesLeague Average

As one can plainly see, his beginning and middle numbers in 2019 tell a far different story than that of the Albies that was hot right out of the gate in previous seasons. Even in his 57-game stint in the latter half of 2017, Albies slashed .286/.456/.810.

This begs the question: Which Ozzie are we going to get in this scenario? The slow-rolling early 2019 version, or the .988 OPS hitting machine of April 2018?

I don’t know about you, but I am confident that Atlanta’s “sprinter” is going to come out performing as the latter.

Save for his lone home run in Game 4 of the 2019 NLDS, the Caribbean-born infielder’s performance wasn’t stellar. In an Instagram post, he said that “the fans are ready to watch us play, the world is ready to watch us play, the coaches are ready to coach, the players are ready to play, and I’m ready to play. Put a time and a place; we will all be there. Let’s play ball!!!!”

Needless to say, he seems ready. He seems hungry.

Hot Takes

1. By the end of the regular season, Ozzie will be on pace to pass his league-leading 189 hits in 2019.

You heard me.

If Albies is to have the brilliant season that many, including myself, believe that he will have, the engine that drives his success will be fueled by his base hit mastery.

To clarify, we are talking about the Braves second baseman hypothetically being on pace to knock more than 189 hits within a 162-game season by the time the 2020 60-game regular season ends.

Although it may seem far fetched, it is actually completely doable (that is, if Ozzie stays consistent). After completing 60 games, Ozzie was on track to hitting 184 base hits in 2018 and even after his slow start in 2019, he was still hypothetically looking toward 170 hits in 162 games.

With the mindset of a shortened season, it is entirely plausible that Albies could be well ahead of both of those previous theoretical totals.

Give me a projection of 195-197 hits in a full season in 2020.

2. Ozzie will have the second-best batting average behind only Freddie Freeman.

Sorry, Ronald.

Along with a potential two-year streak of being the league hit leader, I like Ozzie being at least the runner up for the batting average title on the Braves, if not the best on the team.

With his approach at the plate, I not only love Albies’ knock totals but also his chances at having a remarkably high batting average. I know, I know… “batting average doesn’t matter anymore.” But having a .295 (which is my prediction) in a shortened season is something to behold.

The only reason I think he will be the Braves runner up in this category is merely due to the fact that I am even higher on Steady Freddie’s potential in 2020 than I am on Ozzie’s.

3. Ozzie will have his first Gold Glove season.

As a Gold Glove finalist in 2019 alongside Josh Donaldson, Albies was first in both successful double plays and putouts among NL second basemen.

Simply put, it isn’t difficult to foresee Ozzie establishing himself as an elite defensive second baseman. He should win his first Gold Glove this year.

Albies’ path toward superstardom alongside teammates Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuña Jr. will continue to grow and perhaps even come to fruition in 2020.

Most Braves fans can agree on the fact that Ozzie is often overlooked as one of the league’s better players.

Next. Braves players to watch this season. dark

This looks to be a year in which Ozhaino Albies shows his true value to the organization he has been a part of since he was a teenager, and to the baseball world.