2020 Atlanta Braves Season Review: Ozzie Albies and Worst Name Challenge

Amazon.com: 2019 Topps Opening Day - Ozzie Albies - Atlanta Braves Baseball  Card #98: Collectibles & Fine Art

We will get to the Ozzie Albies 2020 Player Review, but first, take a stab at winning something!

Editor’s Note: In a move that has sparked some conversation and controversy amongst Braves fans, the Cleveland Indians have announced that they’ll drop their surname, leaving many to wonder if the Braves will be next in line. We all know that the Hammers is the best choice should the Braves ever need rebranding, but what would be the ABSOLUTE WORST NAME for the franchise? Please, no politics, only ridiculousness. The contest will make its way to social media and each name will be voted on in a 24-hour ballot, tournament style. The winner will receive a Hammers t-shirt free of charge.

*SUBMISSIONS HAVE TO BE ON THE BLOG, NOT ON OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA OUTLETS.

Ozzie Albies, 2020 Player Review

Ozzie Albies had a bit of a throw-away year in 2020. He was sidelined for a month at the beginning of the season after injuring his right wrist. When he returned, his bat wasn’t quite there as he had his first below-league average hitting campaign. But his bat came alive in the NLCS, clubbing 2 home runs. But the interesting conversation about Ozzie relates to a consistent issue with his bat: for his career, he mostly has not hit right-handed pitching, and he’s a switch-hitter. Should he continue to be a switch-hitter?

I don’t have a position on this, but let me just at least provide you with the data. Ozzie Albies will be 24 years old next season. He’s been a big leaguer since 2017, his age-20 season. He has played in 404 career games and 1,754 plate appearances. He led the league in hits in 2019 while also leading the league in at-bats. He seems to have no clear weaknesses in his game within his physical limitations. He’s essentially a 4-tool player with his arm strength being the missing tool.

For his career, he has a .950 OPS against LHP across 442 PAs. Against RHP, he has a .753 OPS. In 2020, he did have some reverse splits in his injury-shortened 29 game sample: .491 OPS against LHP, albeit in only 29 PAs, and a .860 OPS against RHP . But going back to 2019, his struggles against RHP were continuing: 1.099 OPS in 157 PAs against LHP, and .778 OPS in 545 PAs against RHP. Simply put, he is a terror against LHP, and a below average hitter against RHP. One would assume that if there was a disparity, it would be in the opposite direction due to the amount of practice Ozzie gets against RHP.

And I’m now officially old enough to remember a parallel discussion from another era. You may remember Chipper Jones used to struggle mightily against LHP. Chipper always teetered with turning the corner since his big league debut in 1993, but it was really bad as late as 1997. Chipper had a spooky .666 OPS against southpaws in 1997 compared to .940 against righties. Didn’t get much better in 1998: .784 OPS against LHP but 1.023 OPS against RHP. He obviously stuck with switch-hitting, and the rest is history. In 1999, he won the NL MVP, and it was greatly aided by becoming a serial killer against lefties (1.190 OPS). But it took him a while, right? And there wasn’t the Twitter machine, barely even Braves Journal by that time. Nowadays, if a switch-hitting has a couple of lackluster seasons at a young age from one side of the plate, the talking starts.

So what are you thinking? Give him some more time since it’s such a hard thing to master? Or should he give it up since he’s already had so many PAs against RHP and he’s clearly better against LHP. How much better would he be against RHP as a RHB?

If you enjoyed this piece, check out our 2020 Braves Review on Ozzie’s BFF, Ronald Acuna Jr.

79 thoughts on “2020 Atlanta Braves Season Review: Ozzie Albies and Worst Name Challenge”

  1. From last thread:

    Mid-1970’s was 45 years ago. So yes, maybe if you’re aged 60 and up, you remember the connotation. Maybe. So, maybe 5-7% of the people in the stadium or watching the broadcast have any idea. Just not sure that’s worth dumping a chant. I personally don’t care — my fandom goes beyond a team name or a chant or a logo — but I understand why people would say that was an overreach.

    The one thing about the Braves that continues to be the thing I will miss the most is the warchant music. But I’ve said that many times, so I will digress. But I find unique music to be a powerful thing in a stadium, and I think the warchant is the most powerful thing within the brand of the Braves. I will always remember looking around the stadium and feeling in my bones the impact the warchant had on the stadium after Ronald Acuna hit his grandslam off Walker Buehler. I’m sure most Braves fans have that memory of the warchant erupting after a big moment in a big game they attended in person.

    I know Jonathan Hyde remembers because he was there and he almost caught the ball — if you’re reading, hey Jonathan! — when Eric Hinske hit the pinch-hit go-ahead home run in the 8th inning of the deciding game of the 2010 NLDS. Now, that game ended in despair and doom in the next inning, but that’s another moment I remember when damn Turner Field felt it was shaking and the warchant was blaring. I dunno man, this is just something I don’t think you want to lose from the Braves brand.

  2. On Ozzie, he’s a career mid-.700s OPS LH batter with really good numbers in 2020 and above average numbers in 2019. Overall, he’s trending in the right direction and you don’t turn away from that.

  3. The Atlanta Volunteers

    I’m on the “just make him a RH hitter” train. That said, I’m willing to be generous with him for a while, since he’s such a good player and it’s clear that he takes a lot of pride and pleasure in this part of his game. I just think that it’s good to simplify and focus on his clear strengths.

  4. Rob,
    Thanks for the shout-out and the Hinske memory. There are certain memories that will stick with you literally forever and I’d say that is one of them. Even now, I remember the exhilaration, while the crashing ending has pretty much faded (mixed in with too many other Braves heartbreaks, I suspect – though the Leyritz HR in ’96 remains much too vivid, for whatever reason).
    So I kind of agree on the warchant/chop side of things, for the reasons you mention (the shared comradery, or whatever you want to call it) – if they could come up with a suitable replacement, that could do the same type of thing, I suppose I would be fine with that. Just have a hard time thinking what that would be (look at the gNats, not like “baby shark” gave them any staying power).

    As far as worst names – I feel like the truly worst ones would be political or polarizing so if we are staying away from those, there is a built-in limitation right there. Having said that, staying on the “safe” side – how about a nod to the GA Aquarium and call them the Atlanta Belugas?

    Just saw AAR’s comment – I think that (Volunteers) is pretty genius too, as it would rile a huge part of the Braves fanbase that are also UGA Dawgs fans, while being pretty non-descript/head-scratching to those not familiar with it. So it works on several levels, bravo!

  5. If not the Hammers, I think dropping the S and becoming the Atlanta Brave could work. Just remove the native american symbolism from the team.

    As far as worst names, although true how about The Atlanta Traffic

  6. Braves already explicitly and adamantly said they weren’t changing their team name.

    I suspect the Braves will do away with The Chop, but the fans at Truist Park will gleefully continue it, just without the organ accompaniment.

  7. I don’t know that it’s as easy as just “stop switch hitting.” It’s possible that Ozzie has never seen a curveball or slider break away from him in his entire life. Seems like that would be a pretty big adjustment to make at the MLB level.

  8. I think the organization has a lot more at stake with the team name than Cleveland.

    For the contest,
    Atlanta Slickers

    Because they would officially be the team of Atlanta city slickers, and no one outside of Atlanta is going to care about baseball anymore.

    Oh wait, is that getting political?? :)

  9. OK, remembering this is about BAD names, here are my two.

    1) Throwback – Atlanta Crackers
    2) Atlanta Culture Cancellers

  10. The Atlanta Outpost, after the store near the Blue Bird Truck Stop that would let you fill an empty milk jug with beer. The ushers would let you carry the jugs into the old Atlanta-Fulton Co. Stadium.

  11. I’m really good at bad names:

    Atlanta Republicans
    Atlanta Quarterbacks (only slightly worse than Atlanta Punters)
    Atlanta Falcons
    Atlanta Qhskdfhvhskysbfhsgfbsjdfksdjfhksdfb (note that it’s singular)
    Atlanta Integrators (that is a modification of a proposal I once made to change GT’s nickname when it was argued that their calculus requirement inhibited athlete recuitment)
    Atlanta Amateurs
    Windy Hill Anemometers

    Finally, the new age of sponsored teams suggests:
    Cumberland Gaps
    Atlanta Targets
    Atlanta Caffeine-Free Vanilla Cokes

  12. If we are to change the name, there really isn’t a large reservoir of former team names in this city that we could draw from, certainly not in baseball. The only choice there would be the Atlanta Crackers, and that uh…ain’t happening.

    Really the only sport with a bunch of failed and usable team names in this city is hockey, with Flames, Thrashers and Knights all in there. (There are a handful of failed soccer teams, for what it’s worth, but Chiefs takes us right back to where we already are, and they’re not naming the team the Silverbacks or the Ruckus.) I don’t think the Major League Baseball team is going to use the name of a failed hockey team, though, even though I would be perfectly fine with both Flames and Knights. And the Knights technically didn’t fail in Atlanta. They moved to Quebec City because the Thrashers were coming in, and only in Quebec City did they fail.

  13. Keeping Andruw front and center in our minds in his quest for the Hall of Fame, a shoutout to him with The Atlanta Gold (Club)

  14. Oy. I’m so sick of this. I know many of you are partial to the Hammers but I’m not. I think the name of the club is perfectly fine and respectful to the Native American culture of this country (and especially the historical region.) If others want to go on a woke journey, go for it. I don’t see the reason for us.

    But much like the coming Cleveland Spiders, I suppose we could go back to the Bees or Beaneaters.

    For me, my mama called them Braves, so I’m gonna call them Braves. From Boston to Atlanta …history certainly matters. I am proud to root for the Atlanta Braves (which includes where they play now since anyone that actually lives here knows that “Atlanta” is more than just the city limits itself.)

    This is a tired argument and I am over it. I’d rather discuss the DH (which is far more pressing, frankly.)

  15. @24: Can’t I just be amusing and lose for not following the rules?

    I’ve got a few more:
    Atlanta Pepsis
    Atlanta Sepsis
    Atlanta Catalepsis

    And those are just the ones ending in “epsis.” Actually, I kinda like the last one.

    For those who want to avoid wokeness, I note that two names have suddenly opened up:
    Atlanta Indians
    Atlanta Redskins
    Changing to one of those would be really provocative…

  16. Inspired by “Atlanta Pepsis,” how about the Atlanta Coke Bottles?

    Or, for anyone offended by the whole exercise, the Atlanta Snowflakes.

  17. Also, keeping with the covid theme, how about the Atlanta Vaccinators. Other really bad nicknames could be the Atlanta Critic Silencers, the Atlanta Cobblers (plays off Peach Cobbler, Cobb County and Ty Cobb), and the Atlanta Big Thumpers (One of Bobby Cox’s favorite names for his power hitters).

  18. Bad nicknames abound; good nicknames are few and far between. How about duplicating the basketball team and calling them the Atlanta Hawks (worked for the Cardinals – football and baseball – for many years). Then we could at least have a Hawk Chop.

  19. The absolute worst names would be any name other than the Braves. Please Liberty, don’t cave to this wave of political correctness.

  20. Last four:

    Atlanta Yankees
    Atlanta Red Sox
    Atlanta Mets
    Atlanta Phillies

    I thought about Atlanta Dodgers, but rejected it. That would be silly. Atlanta lost its trolley cars when I was in grade school.

  21. I always thought the Flames was a really tone-deaf name for the hockey team, but I never realized until I checked Wikipedia that it was an intentional reference to the burning of Atlanta. Seems like the team would’ve wanted to emphasize the post-burning rebirth and go with the Phoenix, though that would’ve caused problems when the city of Phoenix eventually got a team.

  22. If names referring to a group of people are verboten, then I eagerly await the renaming of the Yankees.

  23. @44: The bedroom? Yeah, but I have a day pass for the rest of the house.

    @43: With concerts after every weekday game from Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

  24. For what it’s worth, here’s Posnanski’s column yesterday.

    If there is a small irony, it’s the fact that Cleveland likely adopted their soon-to-be-former nickname a century ago through the influence of the world champion Boston baseball team, the 1914 “Miracle Braves.” The Cleveland name change occurred the very next year — perhaps a bit like how Atlanta fans adopted an FSU chant at the moment they began to hope their fortunes might be about to change. (The Louis Sockalexis story is bunk.)

    And as Leonard Koppett explains, the Boston baseball team acquired its current nickname because its owner was an ally of the New York political machine at Tammany Hall, which frequently used Native American words and imagery in its iconography. The Cleveland ballclub very likely took their name from ours, and therefore shares the same Tammany history — and no real other connection to any particular Native Americans. (The CHI Blackhawks and FSU Seminoles teams do have connections to and communications with their respective tribes.)

    All of which is why I don’t have any problem with this particular name change, or with any that our own team might adopt. Wouldn’t change a single thing about the careers of number 44, number 10, number 29, number 31, number 35, or number 47. And just as it’s quite clear that there was plenty wrong with Chief Nocahoma and Princess Winalotta, it seems like the right thing to do.

  25. It seems to me some of the PC sting would be taken out of the name change if every team were required to change their nickname every couple of years, sorta like the way my old company requires password changes every 90 days. The clear upside for the teams is the chance to sell loads more merch. The downside is that I hear there is something called a “brand” that some researchers think is important.

    Once we are changing the name every couple of years, the next step would be to swap entire teams every couple of years. So the Yankees could be really wealthy, but they’re only allowed to be the NY team every decade or so. Seems much easier than moving the players around individually.

    The final step would be to change the game they’re playing with some regularity. So some years the pitchers would hit, some years not. Some years doubleheaders would be 7 innings, some years not. Sometimes there’d be an oblate spheroid you’d kick over goalposts and sometimes one team would have hockey sticks and the other team would have rifles. Sometimes you’d just use lions going up against ordinary groups of people organized by religious belief.

    Continuity is highly overrated when you’ve got a business to run.

  26. @47

    Fun fact: Atlanta actually had a roller hockey team named the Fire Ants back in the mid 90s. It lasted as long as the 90s inline skating craze lasted…which is to say a year.

  27. I was featured in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today discussing the situation regarding the Braves and a possible, but unlikely, name change. The Hammers made the paper, boys and girls!

  28. Just read the Hochman piece, in which you have the starring role, Ryan. Nicely done.

    I need to order me one of those Hammers shirts you made . . .

  29. @56
    Send me an email (cothrjr at gmail dot com) and I’ll get you squared away. Here was my full thought in its entirety. There was a part that I felt really clarified some things that wasn’t included.

    When the Redskins changed their surname to the forget-me-immediately “Football team”, the writing was on the wall for all United States professional teams donning Native American nicknames,,and it was obvious that Cleveland would be on the clock next. Now that Cleveland has taken action, all eyes now turn to the Blackhawks and Braves. I, being a Braves fan, know a little of the history behind the name. It started innocently enough, as Brave simply means “North American Indian warrior”. However, where the Braves started to go wrong was in 1966 with “Chief Noc-a-homa” and then again in 1983 with the short-lived “Princess Win-a-Lotta (yes, it’s real). From there, Deion Sanders brought the Seminole chant from Florida State with him when he donned the Braves uniform and it immediately became the most notorious and polarizing display in Major League Baseball. John Rocker didn’t help matters either, with his notorious racist rant concerning New York. From there, it was tomahawks across the chest, foam tomahawks given away at each game, and the chop heard a dozen times each home to the point of ad-nauseum. Last year, the Braves cut back on the chop, which was easy to do considering there were no fans. Some are suggesting that the Braves will be next in line in the name changing game. That could very well be the case, but the Braves are making efforts to reach out to local Native American organizations to amend a relationship that started innocently enough, but turned into mockery pretty quickly. An acquaintance of mine that is head of a large Native American organization said, when I asked him whether he found the Braves name offensive, that the name does not bother him, but the actions of degradation while donning the name across the chest has been the real problem. Time will tell, but if the Braves do change names, there’s no better fit than to honor Hank Aaron by becoming the Atlanta Hammers.

  30. You’re seriously trying to come up with the worst name for a team that was previously called the Beaneaters?

    Also, am I the only one that hopes the Indians become the Cleveland Rocks?

  31. @58: Good point. Maybe we should acknowledge the passage of time and call them BeanDigesters. Or maybe the Windy Hill Windpassers.

  32. Atlanta Chokers for the repeated playoff failures.

    So, what big bat is the organization going to sign to fill the giant void in left field? They can’t be expecting to roll with Drew Waters. (Or both Riley and Camargo as starters)

  33. @59

    The actual origins of the team name have always presented something of a dichotomy IMO.

    On the one hand, it’s not actually named after an American Indian entity (or if it is, it’s done so very indirectly…named after a thing which was itself named after an American Indian entity). So do with that what you will, but you could argue that fact and the very nature of the name itself create something of a buffer, especially if all American Indian iconography is done away with.

    On the other hand, how badly does a team in Atlanta in the 21st century really want to hold onto a team name christened in honor of a spectacularly corrupt 19th century New York political organization?

  34. @59
    I knew the history of the past, but didn’t get into the very beginning, rather the turning of Native American infiltration (1912?). Maybe I didn’t imply that very well, but tried to when I stated, “It started innocently enough, as Brave simply means “North American Indian warrior” as there was a little Indian on the sleeves.

    In essence, I didn’t start with the name itself, but when the name came associated with Native Americans.

    I realize now that I should’ve spelled it out a bit more but was asked to do this at 7:30 and needed to be done by 8:15 to get to the editor.

  35. The first round of “Worst Braves Nicknames” is under way. 6 matchups with 4 names in each matchup.

  36. @63, not sure what you mean by “infiltration”; the name always referred to Native Americans, but ownership chose the name because they were associated with a political club that used Native American imagery and referred to their meetings as occurring in a “wigwam.” Princess Winalotta wasn’t a big departure from that tradition, rather, it was in keeping with it.

    There was never a connection with any people of Native American background; it was sort of like Aunt Jemima or Uncle Ben, other cases of brand marketing that didn’t have any real association with the people being represented on the logo.

  37. Atlanta Shermans

    But in all seriousness, there were reports this week of new outreach by the organization to the the Eastern Branch of the Cherokee Indians. Apparently, they’re partnering on a t-shirt that features the Cherokee language. This seems like a clear effort by the front office to erect some cross-cultural defenses against the PC wave that they know is going to be directed at them next (now that Cleveland has seemingly capitulated).

  38. Why does it feel like the percentage of people on this board that want the Braves to change their name is probably way, way higher than it is with the overall general public, especially Georgians and people that actually pay to attend games at Truist?

  39. @54:

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, huh? Boy that sounds familiar. Wonder if it’s the same writer that was making a big fuss about The Chop during the 2019 postseason…

    Check

    Yep.

  40. Ryan, I have not finished the Pache piece as I hope I have the normal flu, rather than the you-know-what. It’s been a bad day and I’m going back to bed. Hope to get to it tomorrow.

  41. @67 Because the internet is basically a big progressive echo chamber unless you hang out in the spaces the majority of people stay within (ie. Facebook).

    Still, I would expect here on the Braves blog an overwhelming majority of us would prefer the team to keep the name Braves as opposed to undergoing a name change to appease others who aren’t fans.

  42. I don’t think people here WANT the Braves to change their name, rather that it’s a possibility that could be considered if they start catching real scrutiny.

    Also, I think a lot of us just really like the idea of the team becoming the Hammers. Yes, we’re one big fantasy camp here.

    Put bluntly, I think there are smart people here that know it could be a possibility and no real baseball is happening now, so this is what we discuss on this particular thread.

  43. Dan, there seems to be two responses one can make when the discussion about the Braves changing their name comes up:

    1) This is ridiculous. There’s no reason to change the name. This is the PC police going mad.
    2) The tea leaves suggest this is going to happen. What happens next?

    Sadly, though I agree that this is ridiculous, the train has left the station on #1, and I think most people have moved on to #2. But, to your point, the bigger problem is that #1 is a political statement and therefore isn’t welcome on this blog. As someone who has toed the line on political discussion on this blog, I will once again communicate that it should be the right of someone to talk about #1 since it is just as much a baseball discussion as any other baseball discussion. Put another way, the reason you’re not seeing #1 is because, well, it’s not allowed.

  44. It’s too bad that the millions of Braves fans don’t seem to have a voice. If only there was some way for millions of people to be heard by businesses and corporations. If only…

  45. I don’t think we’ve entered political discussion on either side. Even my excerpt from the piece I forwarded doesn’t say that I want a name change, rather the reasons why it might be considered. Sure, I want the Braves to stay the Braves, but a name change wouldn’t kill my fandom.

    There’ve been a few that have commented their distaste for a name change, and no one has really stated the Braves SHOULD change their name. People have the right to show their stance on the matter but it doesn’t have to get political and it didn’t. That’s the way it should be. It rarely ends well when that happens.

  46. Atlanta Bravos (Games aired on Bravo network)
    Atlanta Kudzu
    Atlanta Takeoff (after wins, the PA can play “Take Off” by Bob & Doug)
    Atlanta Barves (Barves gonna Barve)
    Atlanta Cox (imagine the wordplay)
    Atlanta Sherman (Sherman Sherman Sherman)
    Atlanta Scarletts and conversely
    Atlanta Butlers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *