12:07pm: The Braves announced that Albies has indeed suffered an olecranon fracture and has had his elbow placed in a fiberglass splint. He’s slated to undergo surgery next week and is presently expected to resume baseball activities in early January.
8:50am: Braves infield prospect Ozzie Albies suffered a fractured olecranon in his right elbow on Wednesday of this week, vice chairman John Schuerholz told the Braves Banter show on BlogTalk Radio (Twitter link). The injury will cost him not only the remainder of the minor league postseason but also the 2016 Arizona Fall League as well, depriving him of some additional development time. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that Albies will require surgery to repair the elbow.
Albies, 19, is currently a consensus top 25 prospect, as he rates 14th, 15th, 17th and 21st on the respective midseason prospect rankings of MLB.com, ESPN’s Keith Law, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. Long developed as a shortstop prospect, the plan for Albies now appears to be for him to play second base in the Majors, where he’ll team up with Dansby Swanson to form what the Braves hope will be one of the top double-play combos in the league for years to come. Albies tore through Double-A pitching as this season, hitting an incredible .321/.391/.467 with 33 extra-base hits (22 doubles, seven triples, four homers) and 21 steals across two stints. A promotion to Triple-A proved more challenging, as Albies slashed .248/.307/.351 through 247 plate appearances before being moved back down, though it should be noted that he was the youngest player in the Double-A Southern League and the Triple-A International League.
The recovery time on the olecranon fracture wasn’t specified, though recent examples of such fractures, including Gavin Floyd and A.J. Pollock, were able to return in late August (Pollock) and September (Floyd) after fracturing their olecranon bones in March (Floyd) and early April (Pollock). That suggests that in an ideal scenario, Albies could be back up to speed come Spring Training next season, where he could well compete with Jace Peterson for the second base job. Of course, individual players recover at different paces, and one can never simply assume that a player’s rehab process will be setback-free, so there’s no firm guarantee that Albies will be ready when Spring Training kicks off.
MLB.com’s Mark Bowman notes that Albies suffered the injury while taking a swing during a Double-A playoff game (brief video included in that link) and has been examined at Dr. James’ Andrews clinic. The team will wait until its own medical staff can make a full evaluation of Albies before issuing a formal announcement and any further details on Albies’ injury.