Rookies on the Rise: Ozzie Albies

After coming off the DL recently, Ozzie Albies, who’s the No. 7 prospect in baseball, has returned to his hot form where he has been tearing the cover off the ball for the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett. Albie has all the potential in the world to become one of the best young players in the MLB in an already impressive crop of youngsters. The Braves MLB roster has a handful of young talent including shortstop Dansby Swanson who is going to force Albies to move to second base for the long term picture.

This actually bodes well for Albies who doesn’t quite have the arm strength to play shortstop however would still be considered a plus defender at the position. Albies is widely regarded as one of the best prospects in the entire game due to his amazing skill set at the young age of 20. Albies has a 70 run tool on a 20-80 scale which is exceptional and is showcased by his 18 stolen bases on the season while only being caught once. The 20 year old infielder was acquired by the Braves in 2013 when they signed him as an amateur free agent out of Curacao when he was only 16 years old.

The Yankees put Torres in the Arizona Fall League which he absolutely ripped up. In 18 games, Torres hit .403 with 11 RBI’s, 15 runs scored and an OBP of .513. Torres was named the MVP of the Arizona Fall League at the age of 19, the youngest to ever earn that honor.

He was slated to play in the Arizona Fall League last season, but an elbow injury kept him from playing in the Double-A playoffs, as well as the AFL. However after battling injuries for two seasons he regained his form and returned to the elite level of stardom as the Brave’s number one prospect. Another tool that Albies has that scouts rave about is hit hit tool that sits at 65 with his immense ability to put the ball in play. Another tool that sits at 65 is his fielding tool which is shown as he is a top defender at the shortstop position which will make his transition to second base seamless.

There is a problem for Albies however, Dansby Swanson is holding down shortstop for the foreseeable future which excludes Albies chance of playing shortstop in the majors at least for the Braves right now. Also the Braves traded for Brandon Phillips last offseason and he now patrols second base. However with Phillips playing well as of late and his veteran status mixed with Albies knocking on the door the Braves could look to trade Phillips to continue the rebuilding process and see what they have in Albies.

Potential Lineup:

  1. CF Ender Inciarte

  2. 2B Brandon Phillips

  3. 1B Freddie Freeman

  4. LF Matt Kemp

  5. RF Nick Markakis

  6. SS Dansby Swanson

  7. C Kurt Suzuki

  8. 3B Ozzie Albies

  9. Pitcher

Ozzie Albies could potentially play third base until the Braves can trade Phillips. This also bodes well for the Braves because they don’t really have a third baseman and now they don’t have to move Freeman to third base. This allows them to keep Freeman at first base, a position he is comfortable in and has succeeded in.

Freeman is one of the best in the majors at his position so the Braves should not entertain the idea of allowing him to switch positions. This allows Albies to get experience at a new position while getting major league at bats for what is sure to be a short time because the Braves should move Phillips relatively soon. It makes more sense for the Braves to test him out in the majors especially since they are not competing per say and they could get his feet wet and get him comfortable turing double plays with Swanson in the middle.

Why not? Albies’ 65 fielding tool will be more than enough to be able to take control of the third base position until a move allows him to play second base. Albies has showed everything he needs to show in the minors and is now able to show what he can do in the majors to allow the Braves to see what they truly have in terms of a strong MLB asset. This will help paint the long term picture for the Braves so they can establish what they need to acquire for the future.

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