Ozzie Albies, Back to his Old Ways

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Atlanta Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies has been on a tear this season. The 26-year-old from Curacao,  gives the Braves a good switch-hitter who can help attack from either side of the plate. For some, Albies’ seven seasons in the Braves’ organization could be described as a roller coaster. Some positives, heartbreak, and room for improvement are vital terms thrown around the Braves fanbase. To put into perspective the progress Ozzie has made, let us take a look at his 20221 and 2022 statistics for the second baseman.

Ozzie Albies 2021 Season

Ozzie Albies’ 2022 season was not as some hoped for after his impressive 2021 campaign. In the Braves’ 2021 World Series season, Albies appeared in 153 games as their second baseman, and his numbers helped bolster the Braves into a late surge for a wildcard spot. Albies had 106 RBI, along with a .259 BA, .310 OBP. He also slugged .488, all his best numbers since his 2019 season, where he led the league in hits. Ozzie finished as an All-Star, Silver Slugger, and 13th in MVP Voting. The NL was on notice. Coming off a World Series victory, and with Ronald Acuna Jr. returning to the lineup, Braves fans were looking for the same from Ozzie Albies. Unfortunately, this hope was crushed.

Ozzie Albies 2022 Season

Albies’ 2022 season was very unlucky and unfortunate after his impressive 2021 campaign. After appearing in 64 games, Ozzie posted a .247 batting average, .294 OBP, and slugged .409. All decreases from the 2021 season; Albies did not start hot. Then, the unfortunate part happened. After he hit a ground ball and exited the box, Albies fell with a fractured foot. He was out for two and a half months. Then, two days after returning from his fractured foot, Albies fractured his pinkie, sliding into second. As a result of this injury, he missed the rest of the season. The Braves lost in the divisional round, and Albies looked to bounce back in 2023.

Ozzie Albies 2023 Vision

In 2023, Ozzie Albies faced pressure going into the season. Some news sources ranked Ozzie as around the seventh-tenth mark, and others ranked him outside the top ten. Although Albies had flashes of greatness previously, 2022 would be an inadequate description of what he hoped to achieve. At this point, 2023 had the slogan ‘make or break.’ In an interview with The Athletic, Albies set his goals for a 40-40 season, “That’s the mindset. When me and (base-running coach Eric Young) were talking, he said, ‘Why not go for 40 bags?’ I said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.”

One main outlet of baseball news is Talkin’ Baseball, which released their second baseman rankings for 2023. Although twelve names were named in the top ten, Albies couldn’t be found anywhere.

The media placed a chip on the shoulders of Ozzie Albies for the 2023 season…

2023 Ozzie Albies Season

A return to glory for Ozzie Albies, a well and deserved description for the 2023 season. In contrast to 2021 and 2022, Albies reached a higher level that surpassed or compared to his success in 2021. To compare the success of Albies, we have to check his splits within the three seasons that he has competed for the Braves.

LHP vs. RHP Splits

In the Braves organization, as a switch hitter, Ozzie Albies plays to his strengths of being batter-friendly. However, he always has better splits vs. LHP compared to RHP. One of Albies strengths in 2021 was his excellence against LHP, where he hit .323, posted an OPS of .940 and OPS+ of 134. His wildly succeeded against lefties. 2022, he posted .250 vs. LHP, OPS .714 and OPS+ of 99. In contrast to his success against lefties, right-handed pitching hasn’t been his strong suit the last three seasons. ’21, Albies hit .237, a .749 OPS and 88 OPS+. In 2022, Albies improved to a .245 BA and OPS+ of 100, but his OPS fell to .696. These numbers are average and not the best for someone who hits both sides of the plate.

The 2023 Season

To say Albies eclipsed his 2022 and 2021 splits would be an understatement. Albies soared against LHP, posting a .391 BA, 1.023 OPS, and 144 OPS+. After surpassing the last two years to reach incredible heights, Albies effectiveness against LHP boosted his confidence and ability to get on base, reaching .401 OBP this season against lefties. Meanwhile, in 2023, Albies stayed solidly consistent against RHP. Like the last two seasons, Albies has a .244 BA, .792 OPS and 88 OPS+. The improvement in hitting against LHP boosted Ozzie’s averages for 2023, and ultimately, his hitting against RHP stayed consistent. Albies did improve in his stronger side against LHP, but if he wants a good track record, he needs to improve his splits against RHP in the playoffs and beyond.

Power, Strikeout, RBI Improvement

One of the few second basemen in the league who can hit with power, Albies ability to lift baseballs into the outfield seats since his first All-Star appearance in 2018 struck him as one of the better power hitters at second base. The ability to put the bat on the ball and contribute to your team is a crucial recipe for success. Although Albies isn’t known for pure contact or pure power, his mixture between the two makes his plate appearance more than one-dimensional. Although looking at home runs can show power hitting, a better statistic to compare seasons and players is HR% and HR/FB%. One of the best ways to look at

In 2021, Albies owned a 4.4 HR%, 30 total home runs, and 9.8 HR/FB%. Albies totaled his career high at the time in 2021 for home runs. Ozzie’s ability to hit the “sweet spot” was the secret of his power, going above league average and in the 79th percentile for the sweet spot, achieving it 37% of the time in his plate appearances. Albies strikeout percentage reached 18.7%, a drop from 2020 but still alarming. Albies averaged 5.9 at-bats per RBI (AB/RBI), totaled 106 RBI, and added 5.1 BtRuns—an impressive season for Albies.

His 2022 Season

Meanwhile, 2022 was not the season Ozzie wanted. Albies HR% dropped to 3.0%, totaled eight home runs in 64 games, and a 7.7 HR/FB%. The “sweet spot” percentage for Albies decreased to 34.8%. The strikeout percentage for Albies decreased to 17.2%, an improvement in a down year, but couldn’t achieve many hits. Ozzie averaged 7.1 AB/RBI, totaled 35 RBI, and had a concerning -1.7 BtRuns, his career low—a forgettable season for the Curaçao native.

2023 

This season for Ozzie Albies will end as a career-year for the 26-year-old. The HR% increased to 5.1%, with 33 total home runs (both career highs) and a 12.0% HR/FB%. Albies reached back to his 2021 percentile for the “sweet spot” in the 79th percentile and 37.1%. Albies once again decreased his strikeout percentage, lowering to 16.2%. Ozzie’s average increased to 5.1 AB/RBI, and total RBI reached a career-high of 107 this season. Ozzie’s BtRuns rank 50th overall, totaling an impressive 16.8 this season. It was a career year of pop and flourished for Ozzie Albies.

Verdict: Ozzie Albies’ career year has improved, with his ability to carry fly balls outside the park and drive in runs. It’s a perfect recipe to create a career year for Albies. There was an improvement in all categories for 2023, and Albies improved his year from not only 2021 and 2022 but career numbers as well.

Summary: Ozzie Albies did not reach his bold prediction of 40-40, nor did he get 30-30. However, he improved in many aspects, mainly in the batting department. The primary step taken against left-handed pitching improved his numbers quite well. However, the consistency of average hitting against right-handed pitching needs to improve; however, there is no drop-off for Albies. A memorable year for Ozzie Albies; the regular season momentum for Albies hopefully carries over for him and Braves fans.

 

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Brooks Thomason

As a up and coming writer, Brooks has been born and raised as an Atlanta Braves fan. Going through the years of Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, and Brian McCann as a kid, to Freddie Freeman, and Acuña, Brooks has seen Braves stars come and go. However, his fandom always remains with Braves Country.

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