The Atlanta Braves are off to another back and forth start to the season.
The Braves have begun 2022 3-4, and they have started each season since 2020 3-4, so at this point, it should almost be expected of this group of core players.
Varying Braves Lineups
Although the 3-4 start may seem familiar, one area may look different to some fans — there are clearly two contrasting lineups being drawn up by Brian Snitker on almost a daily basis, and they are extraordinarily different.
The reason for this is simple: other than Dansby Swanson, every other current Brave has sizable splits against lefties and righties.
Ozzie Albies and his notable different lineup spots
When Ronald Acuña Jr. comes back, he will be batting first. But, while we have awaited his return, fans have probably noticed that Ozzie Albies has led off some games yet hit fifth in others.
Against lefties, Ozzie Albies is elite
For his career, Ozzie hits lefties at a very impressive .340/.370/.578 — good for a 135 OPS+ (35% better than league average).
In 2022, he was even better, finishing with a slash of .323/.354/.585, which equated to a 152 OPS+ (52% better than league average).
To be fair, his 2022 slash is technically lower than his career numbers, but based on his OPS+, lefty pitchers have improved across the league.
To put in perspective how elite a 152 OPS+ is, let’s look at Acuña’s OPS+ numbers. He has a career OPS+ of 138. Even when he set the world on fire in the first half of 2021, his OPS+ was 156. That is only four points higher than Albies’ against lefties.
If Ozzie were to have hit only against lefties last year, his OPS+ would have ranked him 7th in all of Major League Baseball, right behind none other than Matt Olson.
Against righties, Albies is not nearly as effective
Albies wrecks lefties, which is pretty evident at this point, but the same can’t be said about righties.
For his career, Ozzie has a slash line of .249/.311/.443 — good for an OPS+ of 88 (12% BELOW league average). That is a 47% difference between his OPS+ vs. lefties.
In 2021, Ozzie Albies had a slash line of .237/.296/.454, and that slight increase in slugging raised his OPS+ to 104. Still, his 2021 difference in OPS+ between lefties and righties is an incredible 49%.
A slash line of .237/.296/.454 is not exactly the type of hitter you want at the top of the order, especially when his OBP is less than .300.
Brian Snitker learning the ropes
It’s not rocket science, but Brian Snitker seemed to have finally figured this out late last season, and it’s continued into 2022. Even when Ronald Acuña Jr. comes back, expect to see Ozzie move around in the lineup based on his splits, just like the other Braves.
Photo: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire