The Atlanta Braves entered the spring with what many thought would be a lot of question marks in leftfield and DH. Many of those questions were aimed at Marcell Ozuna. As we hang around the midway point, those questions might be getting the answers we wanted.
Marcell Ozuna struggled on the field and off the field. Ozuna was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in August.
Braves’ fans entered the offseason without much hope for our current crop of leftfielders. Many called for a trade or a splashy free agent signing. Ozuna is just two years removed from a near-MVP season in which he slashed .338/.431/.636 while leading the league in homers and RBI.
Does Marcell Ozuna Look Better This Spring?
Marcell Ozuna is a proven commodity. We know what type of damage the 32-year-old is capable of doing with a baseball bat. While he’s struggled the past two years, there are a lot of extenuating circumstances. The arrow is pointing up for the slugger this spring as he is boasting a triple slash of .321/.367/.464 over nine games played.
Ozuna hasn’t hit and homers yet this spring but he has come close. He has displayed plenty of solid contact, crushing four doubles.
Did Marcell Ozuna Still Hit the Ball Hard in 2022?
Marcell Ozuna is notorious for hitting the ball very hard. While his average exit velocity was still in the upper half of the league (57th percentile), it wasn’t consistent enough to vault him to the top, where he can normally be found.
However, when he made good contact, he still had the power that earned him that four-year contract. Ozuna ranked in the 94th percentile in maximum exit velocity last season. Ozuna has ranked in the top seven percent in max exit velocity in every single season of his major-league career. Last year was no different. In fact, his XSLG was in the top 10% of the league, indicating some bad luck was at play.
Ozuna actually posted the second-best barrel % of his career, barreling 13.1% of batted balls.
Was Marcell Ozuna Any Good in 2022?
The overall numbers did not look good as Ozuna slashed .226/.274/.413. He did manage 23 homers in 470 at-bats. However, after he returned from his DUI arrest, Ozuna actually played very well, posting a tantalizing .920 OPS.
Hopefully, Ozuna was able to put the off-field stuff behind him and focus on the game again. Perhaps he’s just a little further removed from it all this spring. His numbers look good and the bat is popping.
Do you think Ozuna will bounce back in 2023? Let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to follow us on social media for more Braves’ news and opinions!