by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There has long been hype surrounding the Braves’ Ozzie Albies, though “long” may not be the correct word. He won’t turn 21-years old until January, but he made a bit of a splash upon his promotion to the Majors:
217 At Bats
.286 Batting Average (62 Hits)
6 Home Runs
8 Stolen Bases
.354 On Base Percentage
.456 Slugging Percentage
.316 Batting Average on Balls in Play
When you couple those numbers with his time at Triple-A he had 15 HR and 29 SB playing the season as a 20-year old. What’s not to like or get excited about? Assuming that he’s going to be able to maintain that pace could be a mistake, of course, so let’s take a look.
There’s obviously going to be concern about his ability to maintain his average, as there is risk that he’s exposed by experienced pitching. As it is, despite his 14.8% strikeout rate he posted a 10.3% SwStr% and 33.3% O-Swing% during his time in the Majors. Couple that with an 11.7% SwStr% at Triple-A and there’s obvious risk. He did show good bat to ball skills in the Majors against all types of pitches except offspeed (Whiff%):
- Hard – 10.42%
- Breaking – 9.39%
- Offspeed – 17.98%
As Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 said prior to last season:
“He’s blessed with great hand-eye-coordination and barrel control with a chance for a plus hit tool at the highest level.”
That gives hope that he can keep the strikeout rate in check, and given his obvious speed there’s a good chance that he maintains an elevated BABIP and therefore a solid/strong average.
The step forward in the power department was a bit of a surprise, as he totaled 30 doubles, 13 triples and 15 HR. Playing half his games in Atlanta, and the new ballpark has played up the power for others, is only going to help. As it is he only hit 1 of his 6 HR at home in ’17, meaning we should be able to expect a 15 HR campaign.
Suddenly we are talking about a middle infielder with the potential to hit .270/15/30. Obviously we’d prefer someone who will hit towards the top of the lineup, though that’s not a given considering his lack of a walk rate (6.3% at Triple-A). The upside is still there, though, and if you have an opportunity to buy now would be the time to do so. This time next year we may be talking about one of the elite young middle infielders in the game.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections: