Braves 2021 Player Review: Ozzie Albies

The 2021 season was something of a roller coaster for Ozzie Albies, but the end result was a fun ride.

Albies finished the year with a career-high 30 home runs, 106 RBIs and 20 stolen bases on the way to a second All-Star selection and second Silver Slugger award. He led all second basemen in doubles with 40 and triples with 7. At the same time, though, Ozzie carded a career-high in strikeouts at 128, a career low in batting average at .259, and had OBP (.310) and OPS (.799) numbers that were below his career averages.

None of that is terrible, but perhaps it’s just a reminder that despite having started about 550 games at the major-league level, Ozzie hasn’t even turned 25 years old yet. As good as he’s been, he’s likely still developing.

This season, the main thing holding Albies back from a truly monster season was inconsistency at the plate. He peaked in June with an OPS of .974 for the month, which included 10 doubles, 2 triples and 6 home runs in 112 ABs. He followed that up, though, with an OPS of just .684 in July.

Ozzie bounced back some in August and then closed strong with an .805 OPS in the season’s final month, but then struggled at the plate in the playoffs. Even then, he found ways to contribute. Despite a postseason OPS of .620 during the Braves’ world championship effort, which eventually saw him dropped from the third spot in the lineup to the seventh, Albies score 12 runs in the team’s 16 playoff games. He scored four times in the World Series, including two runs in the 7-0 Game 6 clincher.

Without going game-by-game, it’s easy to see where Albies’ switch-hitting splits are to blame for some of this inconsistency. Both in 2021 and for his career as a whole, Albies’ left-handed OPS is about 200 points below his right-handed OPS. All other factors aside, if Ozzie faces a righty-heavy stretch, he’s not going to be as productive. He’s also incredibly aggressive at the plate, walking just 47 times in 2021. That helps deepen any ruts he gets into, but it also adds fuel to his hot streaks.

All in all, the excitement Ozzie brought to the lineup was a big part of the Braves’ success in 2021, and the best part is that we can expect even better things in 2022. His salary increases slightly to $5 million, but that’s still an incredible deal for a player capable of 3.4 WAR or more each and every season. And if he ever does find consistency from both sides of the plate, the sky is the limit.

30 thoughts on “Braves 2021 Player Review: Ozzie Albies”

  1. Great write up on Ozzie. It seems like both him and Dansby are constantly on the verge of breaking out.

    On the Mets, I think their hitting will be better with recent signings, but they won’t have any money to shore up their pitching staff that will be much weaker.

  2. By the time Albies is done, we will be lauding him as the best second baseman in Atlanta Braves history. Can’t wait to see the rest of his career unfold.

  3. @2, isn’t he already? I can’t think of anyone who has played longer at the position except Lemke, and Lemke was nowhere near as good as Ozzie has been already. Maybe I’m missing someone.

  4. @3: Glenn Hubbard played almost 1200 games at 2nd in Atlanta. He was a far worse hitter than Albies, but he could pick it and turn a double play.

  5. @3…Albies is definitely the best offensively. Defensively, I’m sure you would get some arguments for Hubbard or Lemke.

  6. @5, thanks, I forgot Hubbard had played that long. He certainly could turn the DP. I always thought he was going to be a better hitter than he turned out to be, because he had been so good at AAA at 20. Liked him as a player and a coach, and my dad sat next to him at a civic club event once & said he was very friendly; glad he got a ring with Oakland. Each of Ozzie’s three full seasons has been better than any of Hubbard’s (by bWAR), though, and he’s been the starter since mid-2017, so that’s enough for me to consider him the best Atlanta 2B already.

  7. Have they ever asked Ozzie to abandon switch-swinging, to see how good he could be just hitting right-handed? He’s a switch-swinger to me, guys like Chipper, Mantle, etc., were switch-hitters! lol

  8. Probably the best Alabama Auburn game this century. Amazing 4th quarter and overtime. Georgia should beat Alabama if both teams play like they’ve played all year. If Bama’s defense plays like they did against Auburn, they have a chance against anyone

  9. Hubbard was a fine player. He was probably the best second baseman in franchise history until Albies showed up.

  10. @9 Now that a path has been shown to hold down the Bama offense, they really don’t have a chance against elite opposition.

    Looking up B-Ref WAR, Ozzie should overtake both Hubbard and Marcus Giles for most among second basemen unless you include Rabbit Maranville as a second baseman (played more shortstop, I think). Defensively, Ozzie’s got a long way to go to catch Lemke and is still looking up at Hub, too. All of these are a matter more of longevity as opposed to performance or capability. If Ozzie plays to the end of his current contract, he’ll surpass them all. Ultimately, I think Giles was the best offensive 2B and Lemke the best defensively. I think Ozzie will eventually match both.

  11. Felix Millán (aka “The Kitten”) was a pretty good second baseman. Never saw anyone choke up on a bat as much as he did. Two Gold Gloves with Atlanta. He put the ball in play, striking out once every twenty-three times at bat.

  12. #9
    Bama’s always formidable & they remain as talented as anyone (esp. @ QB).

    But Bama better hope its O-line doesn’t have a repeat performance next weekend. That was borderline shocking.

  13. Second base is such a weird position for Atlanta. From 1966-1997 there were essentially only three second basemen, followed by a revolving door for 20 years. (Lockhart, Boone, Veras, Giles, Johnson, Prado, Uggla, LaStella, Peterson, Phillips) each of which, even those few who went three seasons, had worn out his welcome well before that. Let’s get back to 10-year second basemen, shall we?

  14. It’s been a weird position for the the organization pretty much since 1900. There have been some good players, but they rarely lasted more than a season or two before moving on.

  15. @14 I might agree to the extent that Georgia is similar to Auburn (great defense, not great offense). But Georgia’s offense is better and Alabama has issues in the secondary (mostly youthful mistakes). Ultimately, the issue with Alabama’s offense is they have no running game and the O-line is weaker than last year. I don’t think Young is a Heisman QB this year. He has a lot of trouble with the long ball and being able to get rid of the ball quickly enough.

  16. The free agents are dropping like flies. Semien signs, Avisail signs. Buxton extended. Not much in the way of CFs to go after. Scherzer expects to sign soon. Time to sign Freddie and lock up some OFs.

  17. If Semien gets 7 years, the Braves aren’t getting away with less than 6 with Freeman. I’m pessimistic that they’ll retain him. He could get 7/220 in this market.

  18. @20 Semien plays a more valuable position. There is zero chance Freddie gets 220M… least not from a GM with any sense.

  19. A 40M multiyear deal for 37 year old Scherzer is nuts. The crazy thing is the Nats are paying him 10M/year in deferred money for years too. No pitcher is worth that.

  20. The free agent market is super frothy right now. I think Freeman can pretty much name years and dollars and someone will be there to give to him. The Braves gambled on deferring his extension and lost big time— they’re either going to let him go or pay 30-40% more than they would have 12 months ago, which makes me believe the likelier outcome is that he’s gone.

  21. If the cost is more than 5/150 with a mutual option for a 6th I am fine with him leaving. I am honestly more worried about AA caving in and paying more than the team can afford.

    We still need two outfielders, a DH, rh reliever and starter. If we get a starter I prefer to get a really good one instead of a Smyly type.

    They are saying now that Max is getting 42M/year for 3 or 4 years. The Mets payroll might push 300M.

  22. Rendon isn’t comparable to Freddie. He’s half a year younger than Freeman, and he hit free agency two years ago. Freeman is a 32-year-old first baseman. Rendon was a 29-year-old third baseman.

  23. What the team “can afford” remains a concept beyond my understanding. It evokes images of parents telling little Johnny that he can’t have a PlayStation 5 this Christmas because it’s not within the family budget or something, and it’s not how it works at all. There is no reasonable limit to what the team can afford on this one contract. If it’s not within their ideal budget, they can just raise the budget for this one contract. They’ve done it repeatedly. They did it last year so AA could get the trade deadline guys.

  24. I mean… of course, the Mets overpaid for Max Scherzer.

    I know they have a new owner over there, but haven’t we seen this movie before?

    Yeah, UGA scored about 12 points per game more than Auburn did (while sitting on the clock a lot in the 2nd half). Not remotely the same offenses, really. But as long as #31 is on the field for Bama, there’s always a chance at big-play disruption.

    And with Bama’s best RB apparently hurt (to some degree), a lot may rest on the performance of #9 & his O-line.

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