by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Saturday it was announced that the Braves had promoted their top prospects one level apiece, with Ozzie Albies heading to Triple-A and Dansby Swanson assuming the vacated spot at Double-A. While Albies is the younger of the two, just 19-years old, it would appear that he’s closer to arriving in the Majors.
Considering the start Albies was off to at Double-A the move made sense, as he was hitting .369 with 1 HR, 7 RBI, 13 R and 2 SB. Given a “B+” grade and ranked as the #2 prospect in a suddenly deep Braves system (click here to view), here is what we were saying about him:
Albies is quickly gaining attention as one of the better shortstop prospects in the game. Playing the entire season at 18-years old he thrived by hitting .310 with 29 SB over 394 AB at Single-A. His contact rate was impressive, with a 12.8% strikeout rate, and he also showed extra base power despite not hitting a home run (21 doubles and 8 triples).
He’s never going to be a slugger, nor does he profile as one, as he’s listed at 5’9” and 150 lbs. That said, with his speed and contact ability the potential is there to be a .300 hitter with 30+ SB every season. If he can develop into a 5-8 HR hitter as well, which seems possible, the value will certainly be there. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly the Braves push him, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see him make his debut as a 20-year old, though 2018 is probably more likely.
Obviously the timeline has changed, but is that the only thing?
Power – He did have 5 doubles and 2 triples, helping him to a .512 SLG, so our power outlook hasn’t change.
Average – He also continued to show a good command of the strike zone, with a 13.7% strikeout rate and 10.5% walk rate. While he isn’t going to maintain a .429 BABIP, he still profiles as something at least close to a .300 hitter.
Speed – This is where there may have been a little bit of concern created, as he went just 2-for-5 in SB attempts. It’s at least something to monitor, though there is no questioning his speed and ability to steal a base (29-for-37 in ’15). While we’d like to see him excel at it at the upper levels, we have to take into account both his age and a learning curve. He still profiles as a 25+ SB option, with 30+ very realistic, we just need to give him time.
So now the question is how long it may be until he’s ready to arrive. The team has no reason to force the issue, though Erick Aybar is a free agent at year’s end and Atlanta may want to let Albies get his feet wet in preparation of a starting role in ’17.
With that in mind, we’d at least expect him to arrive in September though it’s not out of the question that he’s up a little bit earlier (August perhaps). While there is a ton of upside, is that going to be enough time to make an impact? He likely won’t hit near the top of the lineup and isn’t a power bat, so his impact will likely be minimal initially.
The story will be different for 2017, but for now don’t get overly excited about his outlook in the Majors for the remainder of 2016 (despite the news).
Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs
Make sure to check out all of our Team Top 10 Prospect Lists: