Lawrenceville, Georgia —— Entering play on Sunday, Atlanta Braves middle infield prospect Ozzie Albies is slashing .285/.330/.444/.774 for the International League‘s Gwinnett Braves, with 21 doubles, eight triples, nine home runs, 21 stolen bases, and 27 walks over 95 games (403 at-bats) in 2017. I observed the 20-year-old Curacao native in games on July 17 and July 18 against Lehigh Valley; below is Baseball Census‘ full Ozzie Albies scouting report, including video.
Ozzie Albies Scouting Report — Video
Our video of Atlanta Braves second base prospect Ozzie Albies shows a full batting practice round and all his at-bats in two games against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs across both July 17 and July 18, 2017:
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Ozzie Albies Scouting Report — Notes
A dynamic athlete if pretty seriously undersized, Ozzie Albies can handle the bat well from both sides of the plate and has flashed the glove to be an impact big leaguer very soon despite being just 20 years old right now in Triple-A. The Curacao native is very advanced at the plate, and though he’s sometimes too aggressive and won’t work deep counts, he can hit for average from both sides and shows above-average contact skills on each side, too. Listed at just 5’9″ and 160 lbs., Albies has sneaky pop—especially from the right side—and while he’s not likely to be a significant source of over-the-fence pop in the big leagues, I like him to hit a lot of gap-to-gap line drives and use his above-average speed to run the bases for days. He moves quickly out of the box and has shown that he can add bunting for base hits into his game, too—a good sign he’s thinking a bit at the plate based on the pitcher and game situation. Above all, though, his ability to handle the bat and hit for average from both sides should make him a matchup nightmare for pitchers in the big leagues, and it’ll give the Atlanta Braves a potential top-of-the-lineup option to pair with some of their other young talent coming quickly to SunTrust Park.
Defensively, Ozzie Albies had been a shortstop for much of his career before moving over to second base full-time this year, and that move is probably for the better. In my views, his arm strength has been below average (along with raw power, it’s really his only below-average tool), and that makes second base a far better fit for the infielder. He has good footwork and above-average lateral speed on defense, so Albies will do well to cover ground at second base, but shortstop likely wasn’t going to be a long-term fit for him. That the Atlanta Braves have Dansby Swanson likely to patrol short for years to come is perfect for Albies, who can slot naturally into second base and play up at the position with his athleticism. Injuries have robbed him of some time the last few years, and I wonder about Ozzie Albies’ durability especially relative to his size; he’s a well-built guy despite being small, but at less than ideal height and weight, he’ll need to prove he can consistently handle the rigors of 150+ games in a big league season.
Ozzie Albies Scouting Report — Projection
One of the top prospects across the entire game, Ozzie Albies is on the door step of beginning a very impactful big league career. I think he makes a natural everyday second baseman, and if he can quickly push past size and injury concerns and prove he’s able to play every day, he’s the kind of dynamic athlete that can fill up a stat sheet and find himself on base quite a bit as a top-of-the-lineup spark plug. Still just 20 years old and only in his third summer of full-season pro ball right now, there will no doubt be significant growing pains at the big league level; overly aggressive at the plate, Albies will likely be exploited with off-speed stuff until he proves he can get a better, more consistent handle on his own strike zone. That said, though, the Atlanta Braves have themselves a likely impactful second baseman of the future in Ozzie Albies, with all the time in the world ahead of him to make a successful transition to big league life.
He’ll not quite, say, Amed Rosario based on my looks, but Ozzie Albies is among the best prospects across all of the minor leagues in 2017, and his ascension to Atlanta (likely later this year) will be a big deal. With that switch-hitting weapon and ability to hit for average, he’s got the right tools to stick in the big leagues once he gets there, too. Ultimately one of the better prospects in baseball this year, and made for a fun player to watch in Gwinnett.