DENVER -- The Braves have produced some of the best offensive numbers through the early part of this season, Nick Markakis and Dansby Swanson have been among those who have proved it doesn't have to be the Freddie Freeman Show every night.Over this past week, Ozzie Albies has also shown
DENVER -- The Braves have produced some of the best offensive numbers through the early part of this season, Nick Markakis and Dansby Swanson have been among those who have proved it doesn't have to be the Freddie Freeman Show every night.
Over this past week, Ozzie Albies has also shown he's ready to be a valuable catalyst within this Atlanta lineup that has certainly exceeded expectations.
After Markakis and Swanson produced the first back-to-back homers of the season for the Braves on Sunday afternoon, Albies capped his latest multi-hit performance with a seventh-inning home run that capped the scoring in a 4-0 win over the Rockies.
"[Albies] is so strong," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I'd say pound for pound, he and [Houston's Jose] Altuve might be the two strongest guys in the Major Leagues. His hands are really, really good. They work well. He's not tall, but he's strong and big."
Working with a vertically challenged frame similar to Altuve's, Albies has shown he can hurt opponents with his power and speed. Since exiting Monday's loss to the Nationals with two hits through his first 20 at-bats of the season, the 21-year-old second baseman has gone 8-for-21 with two homers and three doubles.
The Braves, who have tallied a Major League-high 62 runs thus far, scored Sunday's first run courtesy of a ground-rule double Albies bounced over the center-field wall. Markakis and Swanson added to Rockies starter Kyle Freeland's damage when they drilled consecutive solo homers with one out in the sixth.
Rockies center fielder Mike Tauchman saw both his glove and the baseball fall over the center-field wall after he raced after the long drive hit by Markakis, who has two home runs through his first 36 at-bats of this season. Markakis totaled eight homers in 593 at-bats last year.
"I wasn't sure [if it was a home run]," Markakis said. "I felt it a little bit in my hands. I didn't square it up like I wanted. But I guess I got enough of it and it snuck over the fence."
Swanson turned on a 3-2 fastball and watched it sail over the left-field wall for his first home run of the season. The revitalized shortstop's homer traveled a projected 438 feet and had a 107.1 mph exit velocity, per Statcast™.
Through this season's first nine games, Swanson has silenced critics who questioned his potential as he hit .232 with a .636 OPS last year. The 24-year-old former top overall pick has hit .382 with 1.018 OPS thus far this season.
The Braves took two of three in this series, despite the fact Freeman was just 3-for-11.
"Dansby had good at-bats throughout the series," Snitker said. "He's looked good all season."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.