2019 Topps Opening Day - Ozzie Albies - Atlanta Braves Baseball  Card #98: Collectibles & Fine Art

We will get to the Ozzie Albies 2020 Player Review, but first, take a stab at winning something!

Editor’s Note: In a move that has sparked some conversation and controversy amongst Braves fans, the Cleveland Indians have announced that they’ll drop their surname, leaving many to wonder if the Braves will be next in line. We all know that the Hammers is the best choice should the Braves ever need rebranding, but what would be the ABSOLUTE WORST NAME for the franchise? Please, no politics, only ridiculousness. The contest will make its way to social media and each name will be voted on in a 24-hour ballot, tournament style. The winner will receive a Hammers t-shirt free of charge.


Ozzie Albies, 2020 Player Review

Ozzie Albies had a bit of a throw-away year in 2020. He was sidelined for a month at the beginning of the season after injuring his right wrist. When he returned, his bat wasn’t quite there as he had his first below-league average hitting campaign. But his bat came alive in the NLCS, clubbing 2 home runs. But the interesting conversation about Ozzie relates to a consistent issue with his bat: for his career, he mostly has not hit right-handed pitching, and he’s a switch-hitter. Should he continue to be a switch-hitter?

I don’t have a position on this, but let me just at least provide you with the data. Ozzie Albies will be 24 years old next season. He’s been a big leaguer since 2017, his age-20 season. He has played in 404 career games and 1,754 plate appearances. He led the league in hits in 2019 while also leading the league in at-bats. He seems to have no clear weaknesses in his game within his physical limitations. He’s essentially a 4-tool player with his arm strength being the missing tool.

For his career, he has a .950 OPS against LHP across 442 PAs. Against RHP, he has a .753 OPS. In 2020, he did have some reverse splits in his injury-shortened 29 game sample: .491 OPS against LHP, albeit in only 29 PAs, and a .860 OPS against RHP . But going back to 2019, his struggles against RHP were continuing: 1.099 OPS in 157 PAs against LHP, and .778 OPS in 545 PAs against RHP. Simply put, he is a terror against LHP, and a below average hitter against RHP. One would assume that if there was a disparity, it would be in the opposite direction due to the amount of practice Ozzie gets against RHP.

And I’m now officially old enough to remember a parallel discussion from another era. You may remember Chipper Jones used to struggle mightily against LHP. Chipper always teetered with turning the corner since his big league debut in 1993, but it was really bad as late as 1997. Chipper had a spooky .666 OPS against southpaws in 1997 compared to .940 against righties. Didn’t get much better in 1998: .784 OPS against LHP but 1.023 OPS against RHP. He obviously stuck with switch-hitting, and the rest is history. In 1999, he won the NL MVP, and it was greatly aided by becoming a serial killer against lefties (1.190 OPS). But it took him a while, right? And there wasn’t the Twitter machine, barely even Braves Journal by that time. Nowadays, if a switch-hitting has a couple of lackluster seasons at a young age from one side of the plate, the talking starts.

So what are you thinking? Give him some more time since it’s such a hard thing to master? Or should he give it up since he’s already had so many PAs against RHP and he’s clearly better against LHP. How much better would he be against RHP as a RHB?

If you enjoyed this piece, check out our 2020 Braves Review on Ozzie’s BFF, Ronald Acuna Jr.