The Braves had a lot of questions to answer coming into the season about their situation in left field and at the designated hitter spot, but things are already looking much brighter after a few weeks of Spring Training.
Eli White has been a superstar this preseason. He’s most known for his defense and speed, but his offense looks like it’s turning a corner. At the very least, he’ll be solid depth in the outfield.
Sam Hilliard is also enjoying a nice Spring. Given he has no options remaining, he’ll be on the Opening Day roster, and he could even carve out a significant role for himself if he can produce consistently offensively. But perhaps the most pleasant development of Spring Training thus far has been Marcell Ozuna, who is aiming to put the past behind him and once again become a productive member of the Braves lineup.
After a slow start to the Spring, Ozuna has looked much more similar to the player that was so dominant offensively in 2020. He’s racked up 10 hits, including his first home run on Sunday, which led to three Braves runs. His average is up to .270, and his OPS is just a hair under .800.
The numbers are promising, but it’s his approach at the plate that has his coach believing better days are in store for Ozuna moving forward.
Snitker on Marcell Ozuna (home run, 3 doubles in past 5 games): "He’s starting to look like Marcell Ozuna again, which is really good. Really good. If we can get him back to what he’s capable of … You figure two years ago, he was in the conversation for MVP."
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) March 19, 2023
Ozuna’s days of being an All-Star caliber player are likely behind him. Maybe he puts it all together for another year or two, but I wouldn’t hold my breath as a Braves fan.
With that being said, I fully expect him to carve out a role for himself as the team’s permanent DH. He still packs a lot of punch in his bat, even if he probably shouldn’t even own a glove at this point in his career. Ozuna has the potential to hit 30+ homers, and if he can provide that at the bottom of the lineup, the Braves are going to be very tough to beat every time they take the field.
Photographer: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire
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