OZZIE ALBIES, 2B, BRAVES

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

What’s up: The Braves are all about the fu­ture. Only the woe­ful Phillies are keep­ing them from falling into the Na­tional League East base­ment. That would seem to be good news for the Rock­ies, a team with play­off as­pi­ra­tions. That’s be­cause the Rock­ies host the Braves for four games be­gin­ning Mon­day and travel to At­lanta for a three-game set Aug. 25-27. But be care­ful what you wish for, be­cause the Braves have some good young play­ers, in­clud­ing Albies, who are be­gin­ning to have an im­pact.

Back­ground: Albies, a 20-year-old switch-hit­ting rookie, is ranked as the No. 19 prospect in base­ball by Mlbpipeline.com, and is ranked as base­ball’s No. 2 sec­ond base prospect, be­hind only Yoan Mon­cada of the White Sox. Albies has speed, range in the in­field and pop in his bat. Fri­day night’s game at St. Louis was just the ninth big-league game of Albies’ ca­reer, and his first-ever road game. He de­liv­ered a sin­gle in the sec­ond in­ning off Car­di­nals right-han­der Adam Wain­wright and then launched a three­run homer in the sixth.

Saun­ders’ take: I don’t think At­lanta tanked the way Hous­ton did a few years ago, but it’s clear the Braves are in the mid­dle of a gi­ant scrape-an­drebuild project. Yes, vet­er­ans such as Rock­ies killer Fred­die Free­man and Bran­don Phillips re­main, but a youth move­ment is in full swing. Prospects Mike Soroka, Ian An­der­son, Kyle Wright, Luiz Go­hara and Kolby Al­lard have the mak­ings of a strong ro­ta­tion for the fu­ture. Fan­graphs’ “stats-only” mid­sea­son prospects rank­ing had eight Braves play­ers in the top 100, in­clud­ing 19-year-old out­fielder Ron­ald Acuna, who was ranked No. 1 at the Triple-a level. Albies was ranked No. 2. The Braves still seem a long way from their glory years. Then again, the Astros peaked a year be­fore many thought they would.

Jeff Rober­son, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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