Ozzie Albies makes his triumphant return to the Atlanta Braves’ lineup.
Per the team’s official Twitter account, “The Braves today reinstated INF Ozzie Albies from the 10-day injured list after optioning INF Johan Camargo to the club’s alternate training site following last night’s game.” Albies has played in only 11 games for the Braves this season and has been with the big league clubs since Aug. 4. What will his return to the lineup mean for the Braves?
How much will Ozzie Albies’ return to the Atlanta Braves help the team?
When healthy, Albies is one of the better second basemen in baseball. He was an All-Star two years ago, won the Silver Slugger last year and plays slick defense at second base, forming an elite double-play tandem with shortstop Dansby Swanson. Though Albies is an upgrade across the board over Johan Camargo who is being sent down, Atlanta’s reside with the starting rotation.
Albies will give the Braves’ batting order even more depth, as Camargo has struggled mightily at the plate in his extended absence. Defensively, it may be a slight uptick at this time, as Atlanta has been solid across the diamond for much of the 60-game, coronavirus-shorted MLB season. Does getting a healthy Albies back make the Braves better? Absolutely, but it’s not a panacea for them.
Unless he has refined his pitching skills while down in AAA Gwinnett and can toe the rubber for five innings at a time, the Braves’ eyesore of a glaring weakness will be starting pitching. Outside of Max Fried and potentially Ian Anderson, who else can Braves Country rely on to start games for them? If Atlanta wants to win big in September and in October, they have to outslug everybody.
Fortunately, the Braves are theoretically getting a Silver Slugger back at a position not typically known for offensive firepower. However, it has been a frustrating year for Albies across the board. He is only slashing .159/.196/.273 in the 11 games he’s played with one home run and six runs batted it. The good news is he doesn’t have to hit in the two-hole right out of the gate.
Getting Albies back makes the Braves a better team, but not quite World Series-caliber just yet.