ATLANTA -- Over the first six weeks as a Major Leaguer, Ozzie Albies has quieted those critics who deemed him to be either too small or unprepared to make the necessary adjustments to be consistently successful from the left side of the plate.Albies experienced initial growing pains after earning his
ATLANTA -- Over the first six weeks as a Major Leaguer, Ozzie Albies has quieted those critics who deemed him to be either too small or unprepared to make the necessary adjustments to be consistently successful from the left side of the plate.
Albies experienced initial growing pains after earning his promotion from Triple-A Gwinnett on Aug. 1. But for nearly a month, the Braves' energizing second baseman has been legitimizing his top prospect status and quickly becoming a fan favorite in Atlanta. He added to his recent success when he extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a two-run homer in Thursday night's 5-2 loss to the Nationals at Nationals Park.
"He just keeps doing it," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It's fun to watch this kid play. He's another very skilled young player that's going to be on that TV every now and then with the stuff he's going to do in this game."
Albies has certainly made a strong impression as he has batted .292/.358/.481 with 16 extra-base hits, including four home runs, through his first 174 plate appearances. The 20-year-old infielder, who is generously listed as 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, has come a long way courtesy of the work and discipline he has shown since hitting just .170 with a .550 OPS in his first 14 games.
When Albies came to the Majors amid the fanfare of being MLBPipeline's 19th-best overall prospect, there was some concern about the fact he had hit just .257 with 74 strikeouts in 311 at-bats against right-handed pitchers in Triple-A this season. The fleet-footed switch-hitter didn't quiet those concerns as he tallied just six hits through his first 38 at-bats from the left side of the plate.
Looking back, Albies blames some of his initial struggles on constantly tinkering with his stance and an exaggerated leg kick that concerned some scouts. He has spent the better part of the month staying focused on remaining consistent with his approach and mechanics.
The results have been promising as the Braves' latest phenom from Curacaco has hit .346 with a .965 OPS over his past 122 plate appearances spanning 26 games. He has batted .329, tallied two homers and compiled a .957 OPS against right-handed pitchers during this span.
The two home runs -- his first against righties -- were both hit during this week's series at Nationals Park. He homered off A.J. Cole in Tuesday night's victory and erased a shutout bid when he took Tanner Roark deep during Thursday's sixth inning.
"His hands are lightning," Snitker said. "He is such a strong kid and his hands work unbelievable. He's a very talented young man."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.