Player Previews – Ozzie Albies

  1. Ozzie Albies had a bad second half. I don’t care.
  2. Ozzie Albies hasn’t been so great against right handed pitchers. I care a little bit more about that. There are a lot of right handed pitchers.
  3. Despite these flaws, Ozzie Albies is one of the best young players in the history of the game. Yeah. Let’s go with that angle.

But why should I believe some internet rando, you ask? You shouldn’t. But maybe something via this pre-internet rando will persuade you (h/t AAR.)

And here’s a nice little list of Ozzie’s most similar batters through age 21, according to Baseball Reference.

Rougned Odor (966.7)
Cal Ripken Jr. (966.4) *
Gregg Jefferies (946.4)
Joe Morgan (938.4) *
Bill Mazeroski (936.4) *
Ron Santo (934.1) *
Gary Sheffield (928.9)
Carlos Correa (919.1)
Roberto Alomar (918.2) *
Rafael Devers (916.6)
* – Signifies Hall of Famer

Here are the aforementioned splits:

2018 1st half .281/.318/.516, 20 HR 432 PA 93 G
2018 2nd half .226/.282/.342, 4 HR 252 PA 65 G
2018 Total .261/.305/.452, 24 HR 684 PA 158 G

Career RHP .242/.298/.419 672 PA 20 HR
Career LHP .333/.369/.542 256 PA 10 HR
Career Total .268/.317/.453 928 PA 30 HR

It’s possible that the league figured Ozzie out in the 2nd half, or that he wore down, but note that due to the lateness of the All-Star break, his “2nd half” sample size is 28 games fewer than the “1st half.” Also, Ozzie’s 2018 final average ended pretty much where I thought it would, and that reinforces my feeling that we should base Ozzie’s 2019 expectations from the larger sample size of the total season. I’ll need another season to be sold on the 20 HR power, but I’ll predict a batting average of .275 and 17 home runs.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results, but it’s the way to bet. Give Johan Camargo 10 starts against right handers, and otherwise get out of the man’s way.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

70 thoughts on “Player Previews – Ozzie Albies”

  1. If you have an injured wrist, shouldn’t you avoid playing video games? Repetitive motion like manipulating a controller? I don’t know much about video games, but it seems like a wise move to avoid playing them while rehabbing an injury to the hands or wrist.

  2. Man. I knew Ozzie folded down the stretch, but I hadn’t actually pulled his splits. That was bad.

  3. Thanks, Rusty. I’ll admit to irrational exuberance about Ozzie. His numbers from his call up in August 2017 until the ASB in 2018 were historic for a kid his age. And he had hit at every level of the minors while being the youngest player in the league.
    I think his horrendous August and September were mainly poor discipline and bad mechanical habits. He seems smart enough to learn from that.
    I do worry about those R/L splits, though.

  4. Didn’t he break the end of his right elbow in about September 2017 while swinging left handed?

    I wonder if last year he had not had full recovery and there was even some slight mechanical problem or need for redevelopment of muscles or something like that.

    Does anybody know how to get splits for Minor League Ball? If his splits weren’t atrocious before the elbow injury and if nothing is damaged in there beyond repair or rehab, then long term his splits should move back toward his minor league splits. If the splits DON’T move back, he might need to drop switch hitting.

  5. Chipper Jones thought about dropping switch hitting once. It’s a little early to do that.

  6. @ 5,

    That even makes it more curious about where Peanut was getting his stuff. Usually, you could count on him repeating the front office’s lines.

    Is it possible FO was trying to light a fire in Jackson through Peanut? It seems to have worked.

  7. Yes, Jackson appeared comfortable behind the plate yesterday against the Yankees, and ripped a single to left. Dansby’s first AB was a rocket off the pitcher’s leg, but he got thrown out at first. I noticed that his back foot didn’t drop backward like it did all of last season. Next AB, he got a soft, opposite field hit, but his foot did drift on both swings. Not as noticeable as last summer, though. Wright is definitely ready.

  8. I’m a little leery about slapping the “can’t hit lefties” label on a guy this early in his career. The example I always go back to is Chase Utley, who the Phillies platooned with Placido Polanco when he first came up because they were convinced (with some evidence) that he couldn’t hit lefties. It turned out he could; he just needed ABs against them.

  9. @6 Agreed. It’s hard to really form any conclusions based on Ozzie’s ML resume so far, because it’s so wildly extreme. He’s not completely embarrassing himself against RHP though, so I feel as if it’d be wise to have him stick to switch hitting. With Camargo on hand, you can always rest him against some of the exceptionally tough righties, such as Scherzer, Syndergaard and DeGrom.

  10. Nice to see good starts by both Bryce and Touki today.

    And, Freddie hit a granny. He’s got 189 MLB homers, but according to the radio guys, he has yet to hit a grand slam. Seems hard to believe.

  11. @77 from prior thread.

    I never said that. You better go back and look again. I was wondering out loud if the Braves were not adapting well to the new coaching regimen. Pretty much in the same way everyone was longing for Leo to come back at the same time.

  12. It’s days like today that we were looking forward to at the beginning of Spring Training. It’s against two downtrodden franchises — Marlins and Tigers — but Touki and Bryce, as mentioned, pitched really well. The whole bullpen threw well outside of Vizzy. Kyle Muller, Wes Parsons, and Tucker Davidson pitched well.

    Riley Unroe and AJ Graffanino, both sons of former Braves, are in camp. Some prospect lists like Graffanino, and Unroe will probably have a career like his father’s, which is to say he won’t have much of one.

  13. Freddie hit a granny

    In his defense, she probably deserved it?

    I never said that. You better go back and look again.

    Let’s go to the tape! If exhibit A isn’t a clear instance of premature DOOOOOOM — let alone exhibit B and exhibit C — then I don’t know what is.

  14. @14 Wow, you really like to over-interpret, don’t you. Like I said, exhibit A was a question and said nothing of firing him or imminent doom. It’s merely pointing out a difference from this year over any other year.

    Exhibit B and C show frustration but absolutely not one thing about imminent doom. As for Fried, I guess there was no blister so I’m off the hook on that one and now they’re projecting him as 5th starter – exactly where I think he belongs.

    I guess I have to thank you for actually going back and proving my point. Thanks. Oh and I guess you really don’t know what an example of imminent doom is. Sorry to see that in print actually.

  15. I guess all my hopes are pinned on Fried coming out blasting tomorrow. One hint of a blister and I think I may have to buy some prayer beads. Or find a new sport to love.

    You were being somewhat facetious here, and while it’s too late now, you would’ve been better off making that your defense.

    I am so farmisht. Fried really can get it done if he can keep his damn fingers healthy. He looked better in the 2nd inning. We will need to have 10-11 healthy pitchers by opening day. Sobotka and Webb just gave up 2-run HRs. It seems like all the hits are coming from the minor leaguers. No Donaldson; no Swanson. This is really depressing.

    This is the good stuff. It’s just so pure, like a song off an early Sabbath LP…


    Anybody think that Kranitz’s handling of the pitchers might be a problem?

    You know, just asking some questions, totally casual, everything’s fine!

    As for myself, I never “doom” until the games are played.


  16. @18 At least your emoji is intelligent and honest. You don’t know. And you misinterpret. Give it a rest. I can be upset about all the injuries without writing off the team so early. So give it a rest…. admit your error and just move on.

  17. You could’ve spared yourself if you hadn’t @’ed me to give yourself a nice big pat on the back for being such a paragon of level-headedness here.

    Next time, say less. See you around.

  18. I’m writing a post on comparing the 2018/projected WARs of the top 5 and bottom 3 hitters, and first bat off the bench for 4 East contenders, and Albies really sticks out as almost an underrated player. Of the 4 East contenders, Albies tied Segura for 7th in position player fWAR. 35th in all of baseball. He’s incredibly valuable, and if he hits RHP a little better, he’s Jose Altuve-lite.

  19. Jose Altuve-light is maybe 5’2″, 100 pounds with rocks in his pockets. Ozzie will be heck in little league.

  20. Ozzie is plenty good to have all the opportunities he needs to handle RHP better, so while it’s not ideal for in-game tactics, I’m not that worried. He doesn’t need much to just be respectable against RHP, and one would assume a natural progression would then make him a nightmare for LHP. Add in speed, defense, and the intangible qualities he brings, and he’s going to be one of the 44 Greatest Atlanta Braves (TM).

    It’s (TM)ed. Don’t even try it.

    Gausman starts Friday. How long until we are undoomed?

  21. Monterrey manhandled United last night. The squad has not found any rhythm in Frank de Boer’s system so far this year.

  22. It’s nice to see Adam getting some of the targeting from people who hate when you don’t conform to the group think. Stand strong Adam R. Stand strong.

  23. @27

    In Dutch football there’s essentially two competing philosophies… one from Johan Cruyff which created “Total Football” and emphasized quick passing and transitions and one from Louis Van Gaal which is basically the opposite of that and begins and ends with a steady defense. Frank de Boer played under Van Gaal at Barcelona, that’s where he’s coming from here. His best teams at Ajax were not free flowing attackers (like the team that beat Real Madrid 4-1 the other day) but were ones that wore other teams in the Eredivisie down and couldn’t hang with the big teams in Europe.

    What I’m getting at here is that he was probably never the right hire to take over after Tata. The fans and team are used to playing a certain way and de Boer is probably out of his element to try and replicate that. The last two games we haven’t looked like scoring at all and the defense seems to be unsure how to organize. Not saying to pull the plug on him, he should be given a chance to mold the team to his vision but we should adjust our expectations as fans.

  24. @1

    He had trouble dressing? Give me a break. The Peanut Excuse Machine is in midseason form. If Swanson has a mediocre first half, Bowman will pour it on.

  25. @26 He has a .700 OPS against RHP. Certainly not great, but definitely not unplayable. Are you going to also keep his speed and defense out of the lineup, and the fact that he basically blocks any opposing manager from bringing in a LHP in the late inning? If he improves a little, he’s a .750 OPS guy, and that’s definitely enough. If he gets anywhere close to what his tool projections suggest and/or what he does against LHP, then he’s a .800 OPS guy against RHP pretty quickly. I don’t see how you don’t play him.

  26. @31

    I think teams tried to park fastballs inside on him left handed early last season. He was cheating and knocking them out of the park.

    He can adjust.

  27. Talk about a platoon split: in 1997, Chipper had a .666 OPS against LHP. And in the 157 games he played that year, he faced a lefty in 105 of them. So that means he was getting turned around by someone — SP or RP — in 2/3 of the games he played. Could you imagine what that would be today in the age of specialized bullpens?

    Especially with the lineup constructed how it is, and either Camargo, Ender, or Nick being on the bench at any one time, I really don’t think anyone is bringing in a RHP to face Albies. Kapler would, of course, but it’s not like every time has a ROOGY they’re ready to burn on one hitter the way you do with a LOOGY. And the advantage is on our side because if a manager calls for a RHP, we can always pull him back to PH would of the previously mentioned players, so the opposing manager is forced to show his card first.

  28. Peanut has descended into parody or clickbait. He projects Alex Jackson will be carried as a third catcher:

    But it’s because he’s saying that they won’t carry a 5th starter for a little while. I do find it interesting that he thinks Kyle Wright will be rotating in the 4th/5th spots. If you don’t stick with Fried for a rotation spot right now, when are you going to? That seems silly. Wright has plenty of time to get up here.

  29. @36 Yeah, Jackson’s not ML ready. I mean I get the thinking, with Culby and Camargo on the roster, carrying the 3rd Catcher would make the most sense. The Braves just don’t have a guy for that spot, at present.

    I do like the idea of Wright in the 4th/5th spot. Honestly, I still feel Fried should be converted into a RP, though.

  30. @33 Kapler might bring in a different pitcher for each pitch to face Albies, because Kapler does strange, Gabe Kapler like things.

  31. I understand that Fried’s blisters makes it really complicated to project him. But when he hasn’t had blisters, he’s pitched really well, and he’s already had TJ. I would think the Braves consider him a potential #2 starting pitcher until he proves otherwise. He had a 11 K/9 last year in Atlanta, 2.94 ERA, 0.8 HR/9, and I’d be throwing him out there every 5th day hoping he can get his walks down the same way we did with Newcomb.

  32. What with travel and off days and everything, it’s pretty common to go through April with 4 starters and a bunch of guys riding the Gwinnett shuttle making spot starts and auditioning for the 5th starter role.

    Every time I see Fried, he looks like a ballplayer. I felt the same way about Minor: tall, poised lefty who looks like he can throw easy darts. It’s never as easy as it looks.

  33. According to this graph, the Braves had the second-best offseason of any team in the NL East:

  34. Where’s that from?

    (Also, remember that win projections are flatter than actual observed wins — there are typically a lot more outliers at both ends in real life than the models predict. That’s why a quarter of the teams in baseball apparently got 1-3 wins better.)

  35. People forget that the Nationals sold off at last deadline and then lost Bryce Harper. You don’t add wins by simply replacing players that have departed.

    Same with the Mets. They made a lot of changes, and while I think 1 win is not quite fair, I don’t think they’re much better.

    The Phillies needed to get better, and they did. Without a doubt.

  36. @43 Do you think they are accurate in relative terms, that the Phillies, Yankees, and Reds got “more” better than the rest of the teams?

  37. @39 Oh, no doubt the talent is there. I know with that type of upside, there’s a great argument to be made for rolling him out there as a SP, and seeing what happens.

    My view of him as a RP just has more to do with limiting his innings. Does pitching him 50 innings a season, versus 150, keep him on the mound for the duration of a season? Atlanta should have enough SP depth to do that.

  38. In reference to @42…

    How are the Padres not higher on that list? They added Machado. He was almost a 6 WAR player last season. I can’t think of a significant player that the Padres subtracted?…

  39. If the Braves project to 83 wins, and the Phils to 86, and the Mets to 84, no one has any clue who will win the East and it will come down to injuries.

  40. They undooming process is fairly complex and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Folty has to make a start (or be replaced by someone who proves to be relatively equivalent) before we can talk seriously about going down that path.

  41. If they are going to have a 3rd catcher, I would rather them carry Raffy Lopez for the simple fact that I would rather have Jackson playing everyday.

  42. The fact that anything could happen and that’s why they play the games etc etc doesn’t absolve management of its responsibility to construct as strong a team as they can. Just because a scenario can be concocted in which a mediocre team comes out on top doesn’t mean the proper strategy is to build a mediocre team and roll dice.

  43. You could paste this verbatim just about every year.

    And switch out the division for most divisions in both leagues. People talk about how this is an unfair game, and there’s a lot of parity in the division winners (maybe not the World Series winners as much as you’d like).

  44. @52 That was my thought. Why call him up so he can sit on the bench. With Camargo and Culberson, you pretty much only need a 24-man roster when you get 3 days off in the first 12 days. Camargo and Culberson will get plenty of playing time in the dog days of summer, but early on, I don’t see a 5th bench member getting a lot of playing time.

    And I would say that they should carry another reliever for match-ups or long relief, but same deal. Of these three options, I would say keep a long reliever.

  45. @52 Unless they really do play him and give him a shot straight up. Why not give AJax some starts up front? Maybe he goes on a little hot streak before everyone figures him out. Worst case is that he tanks over a couple of weeks and the old men have fewer games to cover and Jackson goes back to AAA to hone his game. Kind of like the reverse of September except that you have time to make up for someone having a cold streak.

  46. Yeah, it’s a bridge too far to be thinking about carrying Jackson on the major league roster after a good week of Spring Training. Personally, I think Bowman is walking back his criticism of Jackson, and as cliff said, that was probably just to motivate him anyway.

  47. If Jackson starts the year on the roster I don’t think it will be more than 2 weeks. I think it could be a good idea. They can see better how he handles himself and it will give him a greater incentive to play hard so he can come back up. It will also give Snitker a better idea of whether they want to call him up or bring up Lopez in case of injury. With Lopez you know what you have- a 3rd catcher or a barely passable backup catcher for 2 to 4 weeks at the most.

  48. @56 That’s a HUGE leap for a kid that hit a combined .201 last season, over two stops. Sure, he’s having a nice Spring so far- but we all know it’s Spring Training, and how little that really means. There’s really no benefit to doing anything gimmicky to potentially wreck Jackson’s development.

    However the games played work out, McCann and Flowers are perfectly capable of handling the ML load. If Jackson tears it up in AAA, then maybe the Braves have something to think about toward the middle of the year. I’d prefer to see him do that first, though.

  49. Tom Seaver
    it must have been fun, so long an over achiever
    quite helpless soon, dependency on brothers
    some might think a fair exchange, some but not others.

  50. @59 Major League money, as opposed to Minor League money, would be plenty of incentive to try to play hard and make it to the Bigs, I’d think. I just don’t see where yo-yoing Jackson around, and robbing him of some ABs helps him.

    If your worried about Catching depth, it’d be better to offer a guy such as Ellis or Saltalamacchia a minor league pact. I really don’t feel it’s going to be an issue, though.

  51. Ah, spring. That wonderful time of the year when I always get to trot out BB-REF’s OppQual metric for Spring Training statistics.

    In Florida this spring, Alex Jackson has seen 18 plate appearances over 8 games. In those appearances he has hit .375/.444/.813, for a cool calm, collected OPS of 1.257.

    Those 18 plate appearances have come against opposing pitching with an OppQual aggregate score of 7.3. In BB-REF’s scoring, a 7.0 OppQual means the player is hitting against AA quality pitchers. An OppQual of 8.0 means he’s batting against AAA quality arms. A 10.0 means he’s competing against true MLB quality opposition.

    : “He wasn’t.”

  52. @63

    Alex Jackson
    he’s just heard Sam’s klaxon
    I thought I was good, he’s sobbing
    now look, he’s off me fobbing.

  53. dear Alex, at your next at bat
    demand from the pitcher his stat
    Ten OppQual if you please
    all the others just tease
    had more than enough of all that.

  54. @63 – Obviously if leadership brings on anyone based on 18 plate appearances against sub standard opponents, they are crazy. I think it would be more of an overall evaluation based on individual coaching and how they are responding to weaknesses in their game. I’m not convinced that Jackson will be on the opening day roster, but it could be a positive if so.

  55. That wonderful time of the year when I always get to trot out BB-REF’s OppQual metric for Spring Training statistics.

    I had no idea this existed. Amazing.

  56. @68 I’ll be honest, I had no idea it existed, either. OppQual sounds like a prescription medication. Lol. Interesting info, though.

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