As Spring Training quickly approaches, it’s the perfect time to look at FanGraphs‘ projections for the 2023 season. This continues my series, moving to left field, which was an absolute black hole in 2022 with Eddie Rosario and Marcell Ozuna. Below are the previous parts of the series:
Ozuna and Rosario were dreadful last season for the Braves. Both players were a supreme disappointment in 2022, combining for nearly -3.0 WAR as two of the worst players in baseball, which is just an absolute travesty considering where they were a short time ago.
Rosario’s performance against the Dodgers in the 2021 NLCS against the Dodgers was otherworldly. He had 14 hits (.560 average), three home runs, and nine RBIs in 25 at-bats, winning MVP honors for that series. And he was rewarded with a two-year, $18 million contract.
During the shortened 2020 season, Ozuna challenged for the Triple Crown. The Big Bear posted a .338 average, 18 home runs, and 56 RBIs, culminating the campaign with a sixth-place finish in the NL MVP race. He was rewarded with a lucrative four-year, $65 million deal following the 2020 season. But neither player has come close to warranting those new deals.
Off the field, Ozuna has been a mess for the past two years, and on it, he’s been equally abysmal. He accrued a -0.6 fWAR, which is crazy considering he blasted 23 homers. Ozuna is on the wrong side of 30 and is a liability in the field, even if he still possesses elite power.
What’s even crazier is Rosario was somehow worse for the Braves. Vision issues hampered the start of his season, boasting a batting average under .100 for a time, which is almost impressively bad. And after surgery, he wasn’t much better. Rosario was a zero in the field and in the box.
FanGraphs doesn’t see the pair improving much either in 2023. The site projects the Braves to produce the 29th-most WAR from the position, with Rosario accounting for 0.1, Ozuna for 0.6, and the recently signed Jordan Luplow projected to accrue 0.3 — below are their projected slash lines.
- Eddie Rosario: .240/.288/.398
- Marcell Ozuna: .248/.311/.434
- Jordan Luplow: .219/.314/.413
Those numbers are pathetic. I’m hopeful Ozuna and Rosario will bounce back, but it’s not something the Braves should count on. I am not as down on the platoon in left field as most others; I believe they can provide enough offensively to be impactful for the club in 2023.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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