Trouble With Ozzie Albies? (2019 Fantasy Baseball)
Have you ever partaken in something that was great when it first started, then, as it went on, became progressively worse? Maybe it was a food. The first bite was tasty, but the last bite you stomached was the last bite you could stomach. Or maybe it was a movie or show. We’ve all watched something that seemed like it was going to be amazing, only to lose our interest halfway through.
Yeah, well, that was Ozzie Albies last season.
Albies was and still is one of the game’s best young prospects. He was effective during his major league debut in 2017, so nobody was too surprised when he absolutely burst onto the scene in 2018. What was shocking, however, was the amount of success he had. In March and April, he hit .293 with nine home runs. Talk about a scorching pace for a 21-year-old.
May, June, and July weren’t bad either for the youngster. They weren’t at all like his opening month, but even in July he hit .304 with three home runs and steals apiece. From that point on, it was straight downhill for Albies. So downhill, that despite a strong July, his second-half line looked like this: .226 AVG, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 31 R, 5 SB. Ouch.
With that bad of a second half, it’s nearly mind-boggling that he finished his first full season with a .261 AVG, 24 HR, 72 RBI, 105 R, and 16 SB.
Obviously, this kid is dripping with potential, and that’s why he’s at number 50 overall in the FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings. That means Albies is projected to go around the fourth or fifth round, and his current ADP of 53 coincides with that prediction.
With all of that said, he will undoubtedly be one of the more controversial picks in your 2019 draft. If the Albies from March and April returns, the young slugger could return first-round value. If Albies is 2018’s second-half version of himself, he won’t even be owned on many teams come August.
So, what can we expect from Ozzie Albies in 2019? Let’s first examine what we know.
Albies is Still Really Young
Mark this one down as the “no duh” statement of the year. But seriously, it’s easy to forget how young this “kid” really is. Anytime a youngster bursts onto the scene like Albies did last year, you hear all about his age. Ask anyone who follows football how old Sean McVay is. Odds are, they’ll know. Not because they’re a big Rams fans, but because announcers said his age about 50 times throughout the Rams’ Super Bowl run. It’s funny, though, how when those young guys start to falter, no one talks about their age.
It happened with Albies last year. And it’s easy to forget that this guy just had his 22nd birthday. When you talk about room to grow, Atlanta’s middle infielder is near the top of the list out of anyone in baseball. Being young with mouthwatering potential is a great thing, and he is exactly that. Don’t forget, nevertheless, that potential can be a bit deceiving, too. Albies has so much room to grow because he is still so raw. Be careful; unless you’re playing in a dynasty league, you don’t care about what Albies will do in 2024. You only care about what he’ll do in 2019.
What Do His Peripherals Say?
Albies’ advanced stats in 2018 said about exactly what you would have expected them to. He had a 17% strikeout percentage, a .191 ISO, and a .281 BABIP last year. His hard-hit rate rose over a percentage point to 34.3% in 2018. All of those figures were pretty solid overall, and very impressive for a 21-year-old.
Where’s the concern? Albies’ strikeout percentage actually rose three points in 2018 from 2017. His walk percentage fell over three points to a paltry 5.3%. While his hard-hit rate rose, his soft-hit rate actually also rose by around two points. Not great signs, but probably expected with how poor of a second half he had. None of this is utterly shocking for such a young prospect; none of it is crazily concerning.
It does, however, put a damper on his 2019 outlook.
Not only is Albies going to have to continue to improve upon some statistics, but he’s also going to have to flip the downward trend on others. If he can’t succeed, his 2019 value will be significantly capped.
While there’s no reason to doubt that Albies should, and will, better most of his statistics this season, just how much he will is the burning question.
So, how lucky are you feeling? Maybe you think having a full season under his belt and being a year older will propel Albies to stardom. If so, then be my guest and take him in the fourth or fifth round. You’ll be happy if you get the first half of 2018 Albies.
For the rest of us, Albies is coming at an expensive 2019 price. Again, there’s no arguing that he should improve on his 2018 second half. But boy, that second half was rough. Take out his first month, and his counting stats drop all the way down to 15 HR, 52 RBI, 76 R, and 13 SB. Even with sure improvement coming, the boost just doesn’t seem like it will be enough. I’m not buying Albies in the fourth or fifth round in 2019. If he drops, sure. But there’s too much hype around him to drop too far.
Ozzie Albies is the definition of a fantasy lottery ticket–and an expensive one. Unfortunately, lottery tickets rarely hit big. Unless you’re feeling lucky, you’re better off leaving him to a leaguemate to sweat out the investment all season.
Alex Altmix is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Alex, check out his archive or follow him @Altmix_23.