The Mid-Summer Classic is just days away, and with the rosters released this past week, there is a new name joining the National League squad this year. Ozhaino “Ozzie” Albies will be making his first all-star appearance in his first full season in the big leagues. After playing in just 57 games for the Braves last season, Albies hasn’t looked back since cracking the starting lineup. He is batting .288 with 20 home runs and 54 RBIs on the year and has flashed the leather on more than one occasion up the middle.
Establishing himself as a legitimate force at the plate, here is a little background information on one of baseball’s brightest young stars.
Born in Willemstad Curacao, Albies did not have an easy path to the MLB. Albies was signed as an international free agent in 2013, the same year his father passed away at the young age of 40. Only 16 at the time, Albies wouldn’t make his professional debut until 2014 with the Gulf Coast Braves and would join the Danville Braves by July. After batting .364 after 57 games with the team, Albies was named one of Keith Law’s top 100 prospects, and a top-five prospect in the Braves organization.
During the 2015 season, Albies was named to the All-Star Futures game but suffered a fractured thumb in August cutting his season short at just 98 games. In those 98 games, he batted .310 and swiped 29 bags, heading into the 2016 season as a top 3 prospect for the Braves, and a top 30 prospect in all of baseball. Albies was invited to Spring Training in 2016, but spent the year going from Double-A up to Triple-A, then back down to finish the season in Double-A.
Major League Career
After sitting out the Double-A playoffs in 2016 due to an elbow injury, Albies was again invited to Spring Training in 2017 but again got sent back down to start the season. On August 1st however, Ozhaino Albies would make his major league debut against the LA Dodgers, and just two days later would hit his first major league home run. Albies appeared in 57 games in 2017 and batted .286 with 6 home runs and 28 RBIs. Heading into the 2018 season, it was clear that Albies was the Braves’ guy at second base as he has started all season, and has not disappointed. Third on the team in batting average behind only fellow all-star Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman, both hitting over .300, and first on the team in home runs with 20, Albies has come up big all season. The 21-year old is third on the team in RBIs with 54, again behind only Markakis and Freeman who both have 60, Albies has even delivered clutch hits all season, perhaps none more so than his 11th inning walk-off home run against the Reds on June 25th.
It is clear that the Braves have found their second baseman of the future, and it appears that the rest of the league and fans as well are all beginning to take notice as Albies was named as a reserve for the NL in this year’s All-Star game. Braves fan or not, this kid is going to be fun to watch for a very long time.