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Sport Braves' Ozzie Albies might be even better if he could get on base. Seriously.

23:45  16 may  2018
23:45  16 may  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

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The breakout Braves second baseman can pop homers and leg out doubles, but his on - base percentage is surprisingly low.

Ozzie Albies shot up the Atlanta Braves depth chart with a big spring last year and then had a very solid 2016. He can use his elite speed and base But here's the thing: Ozzie Albies doesn't really get on base that much. Seriously . For all the good Albies has done through 41 games, the Braves '

Ozzie Albies is a bit of a conumdrum. We've seen the excitment he brings to the game. We've seen the surprising number of early home runs. We've seen the ever-accumulating total of extra-base hits. It's all fun, and it's all great.

But here's the thing: Ozzie Albies doesn't really get on base that much. Seriously.

For all the good Albies has done through 41 games, the Braves' second baseman carries a paltry .316 on-base percentage coming into play Wednesday. That's not good, especially not good for a lead-off hitter. So why bring this up? Whatever he's doing is clearly working, right? Well, it depends on how you look at it. And here's how I look at it: Albies would probably be an even better hitter with just a slight change to his offensive approach.

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Get the latest updated stats for Atlanta Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies on ESPN.com. Ozzie Albies . #1 2B. Bats: B, Throws: R. Atlanta Braves . Birth DateJanuary 7, 1997 (Age: 21). BirthplaceCuracao, Netherland Antilles.

Ozzie Albies . Position: Second Baseman. Bats: Both • Throws: Right. Many historical player head shots courtesy of David Davis. Many thanks to him . All images are property the copyright holder and are displayed here for informational purposes only.

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First, some background: The Braves have taken an aggressive approach with their offense in 2018. For example, they've put the first pitch in play in 234 at-bats in 2018, by far the most in MLB. Overall, they've had 578 plate appearances in which they swung at the first pitch, also the most by far. It's hard to argue that the aggressive approach isn't working — they're in first place and lead the NL in a slew of offensive categories, including average, on-base percentage and slugging. Albies has clearly been a big part of their success, but early in the count he's arguably been a victim of an over-aggressive approach, as that .316 on-base percentage indicates.

Consider: Albies has put the ball in play on the first pitch more than any other count — 38 times through Tuesday — and more than any other Brave this season. And in those at-bats, he has an average and on-base percentage of .342 with four home runs. While .342 would be a great average over a full season, it's not especially great when the goal is to reach base on the first pitch of an at-bat (league average on the first-pitch batted balls is .325). So while you can argue that Albies is better than average on first-pitch swings, the difference doesn't seem vast enough to justify the approach.

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Ozhaino Jurdy Jiandro " Ozzie " Albies (born January 7, 1997) is a Curaçao professional baseball second baseman for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB).

Sport Ozzie Albies has been a big surprise for the Braves , but can his power surge continue? 17:30 15 may 2018. In the future Albies has the potential to be the Atlanta leadoff hitter, which would Video: Ozzie Albies , Braves pound Phillies 10-1 Albies adds two more extra- base hits in win over Phillies.

a man holding a baseball bat© (Getty Images)

So what would be good? That's tough to say. But if a hitter — especially in the lead-off spot — routinely attempts to reach base on the first pitch he sees, the success rate should be much higher for that approach to be considered appropriate for that hitter. For example, Freddie Freeman can ambush a first pitch with the best of them. He's hitting .467 when he puts the first pitch in play, which justifies a swing-early approach.

But it's not limited to just the first pitch with Albies. He's seen two or fewer pitches in 72 at-bats and is hitting a combined .333 when putting an 0-0, 1-0 or 0-1 pitch in play, which, again, isn't nearly as good as it seems given the circumstances. League average for those combined spots is .327. Here's Albies' overall breakdown.

Count/Balls-Strikes

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

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Get the latest news, stats, videos, and more about Atlanta Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies on ESPN.com. Albies also flashed a hint of pop with his .171 isolated power, so there's a possibility he could be a five-category Rotisserie contributor in this, his first full big-league season.

When the Braves first signed Ozzie Albies , as a 16-year-old out of Curacao, there were plenty of reasons to be excited. He was , in a lot of ways " Albies makes a lot of contact, thanks to his quick swing, excellent hand-eye coordination and innate feel for the barrel," MLB Pipeline wrote prior to the

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

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My latest: Ozzie Albies has had a great year for the Braves . But I think he could be even better with just the slightest of tweaks to his offensive approach. The breakout Braves second baseman can pop homers and leg out doubles, but his on - base percentage is surprisingly low.

Can we believe in this version of Ozzie Albies , the young Braves second baseman who is tearing up the National League? Chris Towers takes a closer look. Remember, you already banked Albies ' production so far, so turning him into an even better player only boosts your chances of winning a title.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

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but because it’s as good of a jumping point as any to talk about Ozzie Albies , who just might be the funnest Either one is applicable to Albies , though, even if his on - base percentage is under .300 Or maybe I’ll still stick with the weekly look at what Ohtani is doing, even if he ’s not doing anything on

Ozzie Albies hit his ninth home run of the season on the first pitch he saw batting leadoff for the Braves . Fun stat, courtesy of Douglas Clawson of ESPN Stats & Information: Albies ' 22 extra- base hits are tied for second most Albies could end up starting the All-Star Game (although Javier Baez

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

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Albies got the call to the majors on Aug. 1 and hit the ground running, flashing the well -rounded skill set that made him a top prospect in baseball. Albies ' ability to make consistent contact gives him a solid floor in batting average, and he runs at a time when stolen bases are on the decline league-wide.

Ozzie Albies is on a base -stealing binge (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images). Stealing bases in the Albies stole four bases in the New York series — two on Thursday — and rapped out five more hits If you’re looking for bags or middle-infield flexibility through the final weekend, this is a play we can get behind.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

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Ozzie Albies is on a base -stealing binge (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images). Stealing bases in the Albies stole four bases in the New York series — two on Thursday — and rapped out five more hits If you’re looking for bags or middle-infield flexibility through the final weekend, this is a play we can get behind.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

SF000011000000011
SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTBHBPSHSF000011000000011 IBBROEBAbiptOPS+sOPS+
First Pitch2938381213104700.342.342.6841.0262600SF000011000000011 00.265126124
1-0 Count12151455103400.357.4001.0711.4711510SF000011000000011 00.182210200
2-0 Count55512100100.400.400.6001.000300SF000011000000011 00.400130117
3-0 Count22000000201.000000SF00001100000001100
0-1 Count18212036201400.300.286.550.8361100SF00001100000001100.2508595
1-1 Count111312561031000.500.4621.3331.7951600SF00001100000001100.300275285
2-1 Count77724200000.571.571.8571.429600SF00001100000001100.571228201
3-1 Count4421100020.500.7501.0001.750200SF00001100000001100.500309155
0-2 Count141616110100010.063.063.188.250300SF00001100000001100.167-4826
1-2 Count17242322100109.087.087.130.217301SF00001100000001100.143-506
2-2 Count202524541011010.167.200.333.533810SF00001100000001101.23120131
Full Count19241926301357.316.458.6321.0901200SF00001100000001100.455153182
Batter Ahead3557471018804897.383.491.8091.3003810SF00001100000001100.389194161
Even Count397674222330818010.311.316.676.9915010SF00001100000001101.263116176
Pitcher Ahead356159693115019.153.150.288.4381701SF00001100000001100.200-369
Source: Baseball-Reference.com

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Which brings us back to Albies' low on-base percentage. After carrying a solid .342 OBP for March/April, Albies has seen that number drop to just .269 in May. One reason is that pitchers seem to have adjusted and are peppering the zone with high fastballs when Albies is at the plate, which, given his aggressive approach, has resulted in a lot of pop-ups or shallow fly outs. His average and on-base percentage when he puts the ball in the air is .224, despite his 13homers. Not to mention that Albies doesn't walk much. He's had just nine so far in 194 plate appearances. But that's usually what happens when a batter consistently swings early in the count.

So what should/could Albies do to boost his on-base numbers? Well, there are a couple of options:

1)Be more patient: The most productive time for Albies to swing has been on a 1-1 count. He's hitting .500 with three homers and 10 RBIs in those situations. When he's ahead in the count, he's hitting .383 with a .491 on-base percentage and four homers. So, it would seem, even a little patience would be to his advantage.

2) Be more selective: There's nothing wrong with swinging at the first pitch, or otherwise being aggressive early in the count — assuming you get good pitches to hit. But when young batters get hyped up to swing, there can be a tendency to chase pitches outside their hot zones. Consider this at-bat May 6 against the Giants, in which Albies batted with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, with the Braves down by one and the tying run at third. The first pitch is in the high-inside portion of the strike zone — not at all in Albies' wheel house. He offers a weak swing, perhaps realizing too late it isn't the pitch he wanted, and pops out to end the game.

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Of course, there's also a third option when discussing all this.

3) Do nothing: This is where I'm willing to consider the potential foolishness of my argument. Maybe Albies should just keep doing what he's doing. Maybe his run production makes up for a lack of on-base prowess. His wRC+ is 140 (that's 27th best in MLB; league average is 100). When he gets hits, he tends to get a lot out of them: Of his 50 hits in 2018, 28 have been for extra bases. He's tied for the MLB lead in homers, he leads the NL in total bases and runs, and is tied for the team lead in RBIs. He's accumulated 1.8 rWAR so far, which is third-highest on the team. Perhaps I just don't know what I'm talking about.

But ...

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It seems a more patient approach at the plate would not only make Albies an even better hitter, but would make the Braves a better team. In theory, with Albies on base more there would be more stolen bases, more runners in scoring position and more RBI chances for Acuña, Freeman and Markakis — who have already accounted for a crazy amount of run-scoring hits. In other words, it would present the potential for a lot more runs for the Braves, who already rank third in MLB in that category. But imagine how it might look if Albies had, say, a .350 OBP and wreaked more havoc on the bases. It could make a scary offense even more intimidating.

Also important: Ablies is still just 21, so there's obviously plenty to time for him to mature as a hitter. As his power numbers regress — it's not wise to expect him to keep this pace up for the whole season — his other offensive skills, such as his speed and ability to drive the ball, will need to take over if he's to remain such a valuable piece of the Braves' offense.

Albies has been a big surprise so far. But don't be surprised if he gets even better.

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