When it comes to middle infielders, Albies is the ideal prospect. While he is small in stature, he brings significant offensive upside in the form of legitimate gap power, some over-the-fence pop to the pull side, and advanced bat-to-ball skills. Couple all that with his 75-grade run tool, and you have an impact, top-of-the-order bat at a premium position up the middle. Albies has not only been young for the level everywhere he’s been, but he has improved each step of the way — should the Braves be competitive in 2017, Albies is exactly the type of impact energy that could make a huge difference down the stretch.
Through 153 at-bats this season, Albies has improved in almost every offensive category, save walks and strikeouts. His comfort level at the plate currently is second to none, and while the strikeouts are up about 6% from his Triple-A time in 2016, it has more to do with his aggressiveness in the zone and his drive to do more damage than it does a flaw in his approach. Albies is incredibly smooth at the plate, and right now his balance and timing are resulting in a higher hard-contact rate. While he is only walking at a 6.7% rate, he put up some excellent at-bats earlier this week, and we are likely witnessing him now adjusting back to being pitched as a known quantity in the league. On the bases, Albies is a terror — he is a solid 70-grade runner down the line without the jailbreak (3.54 on a bunt), and ticks up to a 75 or 80 underway, as he is really able to find an extra gear. Not only does he go first-to-third as well as anyone, but Albies is almost a lock to score from first on any ball hit into to the gaps.
Admittedly, if Atlanta isn’t winning, it won’t make sense to rush the youngster — however, if the Braves are in the hunt after the all-star break, the energy of Albies could transform that lineup with the pressure his speed and extra-base-hit potential brings to the table — not unlike what Jose Reyes (3B, Mets) did for the Mets lineup as a young player.