There is plenty of optimism and hype surrounding Braves SS prospect Ozhaino Albies, and it's for good reason. He was extremely impressive during camp (to the point where Erick Aybar admitted that he actually learned a thing or two from Albies during camp), and has been rocketing his way through the system to the point where there's speculation that he could make it to the big leagues later this season. The Braves really like Albies, and they've made it clear that he's going to get every opportunity to keep on riding that rocket ship all the way to the majors.
Albies was nothing short of sensational at Low-A Rome in 2015, hitting .310 with 21 doubles, eight triples and 29 stolen bases in 98 games. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez raved all spring about Albies, and they made the decision to send him here and last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Dansby Swanson, to High-A Carolina to start the year. One of them will be the Braves’ shortstop, and the other will have to change positions at some point. But it says something that at this point Albies is ahead of Swanson, his elder by three years.
"It’s a competition," Albies said frankly. "But just play my game, do my thing like always and bring energy to the game every day and try to win the position."
If there's one thing that Freddie Freeman prides himself on, it's the fact that he's got a bit of rep as being an iron man when he's healthy. He wants to get back to those ways this season, as he's made it clear that he plans on playing all 162 games this season. On the other hand, Fredi Gonzalez wants Freddie to start taking a rest every now and then. He says that it's not directly linked to the wrist injury that cost Freeman a bunch of games last year, but it defeintely plays a factor in this decision-making.
"The days of 162 and every inning and every at-bat, every swing, I think we need to taper down a little bit, because we want him to play the whole season," Gonzalez said. "We don't want one of our best players to sit out for 2 1/2 months and if we can give him a day off combined with and off day and do that for longevity, we'll do that."
Minor leagues reveal rosters for 2016
There are going to be plenty of eyes on the Braves' minor league system this season. We already covered Ozzie Albies' placement at Double-A Mississippi, but if you want to see where guys like Dansby Swanson, Aaron Blair, Sean Newcomb, Austin Riley, Touki Toussaint, and many others will be starting the 2016 season in the system, then check out the following links below:
Palm Beach County in Florida is edging closer and closer to potentially joining the bidding with Sarasota County for the opportunity to become the new spring training home of the Atlanta Braves. The county will be meeting with the Braves later this week, and depending on how that goes, a formal proposal could be on the table shortly afterwards. After that happens, things could potentially get serious, but again, we're still in the early stages of negotiations between the two parties.
The Atlanta Braves were the first team to run afoul of the "Chase Utley Rule," but when it happened to the Braves, it didn't directly cost them the game. Instead, that "honor" goes to the Toronto Blue Jays, who ended up becoming the first team to lose a game because of the new rule, as you'll see below.
Tampa's manager noticed that Jose Bautista made unneccessary contact with Logan Forsythe, and under the letter of the law written in the new slide rules, that resulted in an automatic (and in this case, game-ending) double play. Needless to say, Toronto manager John Gibbons was livid in his post-game press conference.