#MLBPlayers411 | Ozzie Albies
Speedy, switch-hitting second baseman Ozzie Albies (pronounced AL-bees) is making the most of his opportunity to showcase his skills with the rebuilding Atlanta Braves in recent weeks.
Nicknamed ‘The Little Giant' by teammates, Ozhaino Jurdy Jiandro "Ozzie" Albies stands at just 5-foot-8 – the shortest player on the Braves' active roster – but he's making a big impact in the Braves' lineup since joining the club on Aug. 1.
Through 39 games, Albies is hitting .293 with three home runs and 18 RBIs. Only Minnesota's Byron Buxton has matched his five triples during that time span.
Currently, he owns a 10-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .349, with four extra-base hits and six RBIs.
“The kid's been an All-Star,” manager Brian Snitker told the AJC. “He's done well every step of the way, no matter how old he's been. And I know he's always been a leader on all the teams he's been on, even at a young age. In talking to the guys that have had him (on their team), he's a very mature kid for his age. … He's an exciting little player with really good skills and it's going to be fun to watch him play.”
Albies also became the youngest player in the majors when he was promoted and is one of just five 20 year olds to play in a major-league game this season.
He's the 15th player born in Curaçao – a Caribbean island with a population of about 160,000 – to play in the majors, and one of five active players in 2017, including Kenley Jansen, Jurickson Profar, Jonathan Schoop and Andrelton Simmons.
After recording his first major-league hit – a home run against the Dodgers – Albies received a congratulatory message from fellow countryman and a former Brave who hit his first home run at age 19.
“When I came to my locker I saw Andruw Jones' congrats on my Instagram,” Albies told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That was pretty awesome.”
Signed by the Braves in 2013 at the age of 16, Albies joined a group of players plucked by the Braves out of Curaçao that includes Jones, Andrelton Simmons and Randall Simon. In addition to his skills on the diamond, Albies also speaks four languages and is also an avid tennis player.
“He was kind of overlooked because of his size, but he has a big heart,” long-time scout Philip Elhage told The New York Times. “He's a very polite kid, but he is a fighter. I think he can be the next guy.”
Albies, who was strictly a shortstop until playing alongside current Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson for the organization's Mississippi affiliate in the Double-A Southern League in 2016, rose rapidly and entered the season ranked as the No. 11 prospect in baseball by Baseball America and MLB.com.
So far, Albies is playing up to that top-prospect status.
To see more photos of Albies, click here.
To read more #MLBPlayers411, click here.