The Atlanta Braves have been without their star second baseman for a couple of weeks now but made the trip to San Francisco with the team with hopes of being activated during the road trip.
Fans got their wish as Ozzie Albies was activated from the IL today and will likely get the start tonight at Coors Field. As a corresponding move, the Atlanta Braves sent both Jared Shuster and Vaughn Grissom to Triple-A Gwinnett.
The Braves also recalled RHP Darius Vines from Gwinnett to fill Shuster's spot. Atlanta's starter for Wednesday is listed as TBD so Vines could make his MLB debut that day and give Strider an extra day of rest before the Dodgers series gets underway in LA.
Vines was picked by the Braves in the 2019 Draft and is currently 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA across 9 starts at three minor league levels. 5 of those starts were with the Gwinnett Stripers.
Atlanta likely is using him as bullpen depth but if they don't need to use him before Wednesday rolls around, he could be an option to make a spot start and give the rotation some extra rest. Either way, it'll be exciting to hopefully get the chance to see him pitch an inning or two.
Ozzie, We Love Him
Getting Ozzie back is a huge relief for the Braves as he has been incredible this season but Nicky Lopez and Vaughn Grissom did a great job filling in for him.
Nicky Lopez has been an amazing replacement to say the least, and his play has allowed Atlanta to handle Ozzie’s injury with the utmost care. Lopez has been as advertised defensively, and has been hitting since coming over from Kansas City.
As good as Lopez has been, his offense is never going to be what Albies can provide, especially in the power department. That is not a knock on Lopez, just more of a testament to how good Ozzie Albies is.
Ozzie has been enjoying another fine year as the Braves second baseman. His season numbers are among the best in his career. He currently has a .267/.327/.514 slash line paired with 28 home runs, 90 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases.
Albies’ current wRC+ is 120 (which would set a career-high) and he owns a 3.3 fWAR via FanGraphs. Ozzie has long been known for his insane splits as a switch-hitter but this season his left-handed swing has been a bit more consistent.
He still absolutely rakes when hitting righty, but given how few left-handed pitchers the Braves have seen, it’s great to see the power he has displayed from the left side. On the season Ozzie is slugging .481 when hitting left-handed, and 23 of his 28 home runs have come batting from that side.
Atlanta will certainly welcome their spark plug back to the lineup and thus deepen the lineup to a nightmarish length for opposing pitchers.