July 2, 2013: Albies signed with the Braves for $350,000, out of Curacao, via scout Dargello Lodowica.
Ozzie says he started playing baseball when he was six years old. When he was 13 or 14, Albies says, "The Braves came down to see me when I was little. They said, 'Hey, we want to see you hit from both sides of the plate,' so that's when I started swinging it."
Ozzie has baseball savvy and a fearlessness that enables him to fulfill all of his potential.
In 2016, Baseball America rated Albies as the 3rd-best prospect in the Braves' organization. In 2017, he moved to #2, behind only Dansby Swanson in Atlanta's farm system.
Ozhaino is very impressive in his energy for the game, along with the obvious ability. He has an uncanny feel for the game. and he has a great attitude.
"I like to treat everybody right," Albies said in April 2016. "Even if you treat me bad, I still want to treat you right. If you treat me bad, I'm not going to cuss and get angry and say bad things because I like to be happy every day.
I like to joke every day, to be happy every day. Every minute of every day, I like to have my teeth out, smiling. I always talk and joke with the guys. Last year, with [double play partner] Omar Obregon, it was like we always had to be laughing, smiling every day. For us, joking and laughing was like a routine ground ball that you make the same every day.
"When you're having fun, everything is going to go easier and you're going to be better. If you lose a game, you're not smiling and laughing in the dugout because that's disrespectful to your teammates, but when you get home you try to be happy because you can't change the game now anyway.
"I come from Curacao in the Caribbean and I was raised up by my mom and a little with my father, who passed away, and my mom was always teaching me how to treat people. [My father] passed away three years ago (in 2012), but he worked a lot in the day, so in the house it was only my mom," Ozzie said.
June 27, 2015: Albies had an opportunity to show the baseball world why the Braves have become so enamored with his tremendous potential. Albies served as the Braves' only representative in the SiriusXM Futures Game on July 12, 2015 at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. The 18-year-old shortstop from Curacao played for the World Team during this contest that annually provides baseball's top prospects a chance to compete against each other and kick off the All-Star Game festivities. He was also the youngest player at the Futures Game. Despite being the youngest player, he said he wasn't nervous about playing on the big stage. (M Bowman - MLB.com - June 25, 2015)
Albies is not only a good baseball player; he says he plays a good deal of tennis, too. His girlfriend, Janet Evans, is a high-level tennis player from Curaçao, and they often play together.
(Albies says he uses a one-handed backhand; otherwise he would swing his racket like a bat and send the ball into the Caribbean.) (David Waldstein - New York Times - March 2016)
Ozzie was born three months after a 19-year-old phenom named Andruw Jones belted a home run in both of his first two career World Series at-bats. The highly regarded Albies will have the chance to be the latest Curacao native to excite Braves fans at a young age.
Getting his call to the Majors on August 1, 2017, fulfilled a childhood dream for Albies, who grew up watching the Braves with his grandfather, one of the countless Curacao natives whose fandom of the Braves was enriched as Jones played for Atlanta from 1996-2007.
"I started jumping in the house, screaming [when I got the call]," Albies said. "I was actually paying my rent and stuff, but then I just forgot about everything. I showered and headed over here right away."
"He's an exciting little player with really good skills, and it's going to be fun to watch him play," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. (Bowman - mlb.com - 8/1/17)
Aug 3, 2017: Given the exploits of Carlos Correa, Cody Bellinger and many others, Major League Baseball is currently in a fantastic era for young talent. It might be inevitable, but perhaps the scariest part of it all is the fact that these players' birthdays keep going deeper into the 1990s. It was just a month and a half ago that Franklin Barreto of the A's became the first Major Leaguer born in 1996 to hit a home run. Red Sox rookie Rafael Devers is six months younger than Barreto, and on July 26, he pushed the bar back even further with his first dinger.
Then, along came Ozzie Albies, who was just promoted by the Braves. He immediately became the youngest player in the Majors and the first born in 1997, so naturally, he took the youth movement to the next level with a three-run homer against the Dodgers:
The No. 1 movie on the day Albies was born? The Relic. The No. 1 song in the country? An even more alarming throwback: Tony Braxton—Un-Break My Heart. (A Mearns and M Bowman - MLB.com - Aug 5, 2017)
"Ozzie just keeps doing it," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It's fun to watch this kid play. He's another very skilled young player who's going to be on that TV every now and then with the stuff he's going to do in this game." (Bowman - mlb.com - 9/14/17)
July 2018: Albies was selected to play reserve in the MLB All-Star game.
Before her son left their native Curacao to attend Spring Training 2018, Judari Albies told him she wanted to see him hit 20 homers. She didn't expect him to do it before the All-Star break. Nor did she anticipate being present to see him reach this goal.
This was the primary reason Ozzie Albies was displaying a bright smile after notching the first multi-homer game of his young career during July 11, 2018's 9-5 win over the Blue Jays at SunTrust Park. Albies became the sixth player in Braves history to homer from both sides of the plate.
More importantly, he capped this memorable night by hitting his team-leading 20th homer in front of his mother, who had flown to Atlanta late July 10th. "It happened right in front of her and she saw it live," Albies said. "I'm happy it happened today."
"What he's doing from the left and right side of the plate, it's pretty special," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "He's doing it night in and night out. Every single night, he's helping us win a ballgame. It's been fun to watch." (Bowman - mlb.com - 7/12/18)
The Braves have had a strong first few months of the 2018 season and are right in the thick of things in the National League postseason picture.
As a result, four Braves will be in D.C. this week for All-Star Week 2018. And thanks to one of them, they'll be sporting some extremely choice footwear. Mike Foltynewicz, you see, designed some custom socks for his fellow Atlanta All-Stars to wear, and they were shown off during the broadcast of the July 15 5-1 win over the D-backs.
Freddie Freeman has socks emblazoned with the smiling faces of his wife, Chelsea, and son, Charlie. Nick Markakis' feature his three sons—Taylor, Tucker and Toby. And while Ozzie doesn't have a wife and kids just yet, his socks feature the face of his pal and teammate, Ronald Acuna Jr. (Garro - mlb.com - 7/15/18)
- How speaking four languages helps Braves star Ozzie Albies in life:m This is one thing that’s especially interesting about Albies: As a native of Curaçao, he speaks four languages — English, Spanish, Dutch and Papiamentu, a lesser-known creole language, which he gives you a quick lesson in on the show.
“It feels great that God gave me this opportunity to learn all these languages,” Albies told Yahoo Sports on a podcast. “I can communicate everywhere I go.” (Mike Oz-Yahoo Sports-Aug. 2018)
|Birth City:||Willemstad, Curacao|
|Draft:||2013 - Braves - Free agent - Out of Curacao|
Albies is a switch-hitter with limited power projection because of his size. But he can hit 30 to 40 doubles every year for you.
His offensive strength is his ability to make hard and consistent contact from both sides of the plate, thanks to his plus bat speed and superior hand-eye coordination. He drives the ball better than advertised, draws walks and uses his plus speed to beat out grounders and steal bases, making him an ideal top-of-the-lineup hitter.
Ozzie gets a 70 grade for his hit tool, but only a 40 for power. (Spring, 2017)
Ozhaino has good bat speed from both ides of the plate. His loose, quick stroke works inside the ball to direct it to all fields, and he will hit for average.
Albies is an advanced hitter for his age with a quick, simple swing, terrific bat control from both sides, and a mature understanding of the strike zone. He makes consistent contact and takes advantage of his plus-plus speed to hit for a high average. He profiles to hit at the top of the order, as he shows minimal power with a swing geared for hitting the ball on the ground.
Albies is a natural top-of-the-lineup batter who should hit for a high average. Albies has a quick swing with plus bat speed from both sides of the plate. He stays inside the ball and makes consistent contact with his superior hand-eye coordination, yet he’s strong enough to drive the ball from gap to gap.
His strike-zone judgment is far beyond his years, and he keeps the ball out of the air in order to take advantage of his plus speed.
Ozhaino has excellent hand-eye coordination and the ability to stay inside the ball and spray line shots all over the field.
Braves assistant director of player development Jonathan Schuerholz said. “It’s different watching him play. It’s like he’s playing in the backyard just having fun.”
Albies has a great first step and outstanding speed. Capable of driving the ball from both sides of the plate, he shows quick-twitch actions at short, though some scouts believe he’ll be a second baseman in the big leagues.
“He has all of the intangibles as well as the tangibles, the tools,” Schuerholz said.
Ozzie stays within himself. While a lot of young, pull-conscious hitters struggle even in BP to use the opposite field, Albies goes the other way with ease, showing the barrel control and simple, adjustable swing to hit line drives to all fields.
2014 Season: Albies led the Appalachian League in both average (.356) and on-base percentage (.429). His strikeout rate (10.6 percent) was the lowest for any 17-year-old Appy Leaguer since Jimmy Rollins in 1996.
And his defensive efficiency was apparent with the second-highest fielding percentage (.950) among shortstops.
In 2016, Ozzie claimed the Southern League's batting (.321) and on-base percentage (.391) titles with terrific barrel control, contact ability and timing.
Albies has the bat speed to turn around any fastball and the patience to wait for his pitch. Albies won’t ever be a masher, but he could approach average power.
August 2017: Ozzie became the youngest player in the Majors when he was called up by the Braves, and the first one born in 1997. He took the youth movement to the next level with a three-run homer against the Dodgers. The 20-year-old phenom could hardly contain his excitement. "It was amazing and awesome. As soon as I hit it, I was like, 'Man, this is going to be the first one,'" Albies said to MLB.com's Mark Bowman. "I'm excited that I got it."
Albies also became the youngest player for the Braves to homer since his Curacao countryman, Andruw Jones, who was smashing World Series homers as a teenager in 1996. "I'm just happy I did it," said Albies. "There are many more to come." (Mearns & Bowman - mlb.com)
April 25, 2018: Albies' one-out solo homer was his 17th extra-base hit, tying him with Chipper Jones, Dale Murphy and Justin Upton for the most by a Braves player before the end of April.
- July 6, 2018: Albies can now say Hank Aaron is the only other Braves player to tally 50 extra-bases sooner than he has in a season. Albies increased his National League-leading extra-base hits total to 50. The franchise's only other players to reach this mark before the All-Star break were Aaron and Darrell Evans.
- As of the start of the 2019 season, Ozzie's career Major League stats were: .268 batting average, 30 home runs and 229 hits, with 100 RBI in 856 at-bats.
Ozhaino has surprising tools for his size. He has a strong, accurate arm and a quick release that is very playable at shortstop. He has all the tools to be a very good shortstop, including soft hands and above-average range.
Albies gets a 55 for his fielding and a 60 for his arm, on the 20-80 scout scale.
Albies has soft hands and at least plus speed and range. He has great feet. He looks like a shortstop.
And Ozhaino has a sound internal clock.
He is a very smooth shortstop. He doesn't know panic or fear. Here's hoping he never does.
"He has as good a game clock as you will ever see," Greenville manager Darren Fenster said in 2015. "Everything is under control. Every throw arrives a split second before the baserunner."
In June 2016, Ozzie moved to second base. And the Braves wanted him to return to Mississippi to work on the transition, with future SS Dansby Swanson.
"It's not a demotion,” Mississippi manager Luis Salazar said of Albies’ encore in Mississippi. “We already know what type of player Ozzie is. The big thing he needs to do is work around the (second-base) bag. I don’t believe the transition is going to be very hard for him because he has a lot of ability.”
The definition of a quick-twitch athlete, Albies’ first-step quickness, soft hands, above-average arm strength and baseball instincts make him a plus defender at both middle-infield spots. He has some work to do in making the pivot on double plays, which should come with experience. (Spring, 2017)
There's no question Albies can handle playing shortstop at the big league level if needed. He has plenty of range and enough arm for the position, but he slid over to play second because of the arrival of Swanson, and Albies has the chance to be a Gold Glove-caliber defender on the right side of the infield.
Watching Albies and Swanson work together in that Braves infield in the future should be a real treat. (Mayo - mlb.com - 8/1/17)
In August 2017, Ozzie was the near-unanimous choice of International League managers as the league’s Fastest Baserunner and Best Defensive Second Baseman in Baseball America's Best Tools issue.
At second base, he shows the above-average arm, exceptional quickness, and wide range to be a plus defender.
Ozhaino is an outstanding runner—a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. That plus-plus speed is spurred on by his fearless play on the bases, in the field, and at the plate.
- Albies was asked, "Do you have more fun hitting a double or hitting a single and stealing second?" Ozzie said, "Let me tell you, I have more fun hitting a triple. You know why? Because when you hit a ball into the gap and you make the turn from first base heading to second and you're in the middle of second and first, you can see the outfielder thinking you're stopping at second when he's getting the ball. I like that race when you're going to third and you know the throw is coming. Then when you slide in safe and you turn around and you can see everybody clapping, I love that.
"I do love to hit a single, steal second base and run home on a base hit, too, especially if it's a walk-off hit, you know? Oh, that's the greatest," Albies said.
Albies' speed is something that will help him contribute even if it takes him time to get the bat going at the highest level. He's long been an efficient base-stealer, even when he first started his pro career. (Mayo - mlb.com - 8/1/17)
- In 2017, Albies stole 21 bases at a 91 percent success rate in the International League, his most efficient season yet.
Aug. 3, 2015: Albies was on the D.L. "It was a pickoff at second base," Albies explained. "The guy threw a wide throw and the only chance I had to stop the baseball was to catch it with my bare hand, so I tried to catch it and it hit my thumb."
Ozzie missed the remainder of the season after suffering a minor right thumb fracture with Class A Rome, according to president of baseball operations John Hart. The plan is to shut Albies down and get him ready for the Instructional League.
September 8, 2016: Albies ended the season on the D.L. He suffered a right elbow olecranon fracture when he fouled off a pitch and was diagnosed with a right elbow fracture that required surgery. In other words, Ozzie broke a bone in the tip of his right elbow.
- June 5-13, 2017: Ozzie was on the DL.