Braves: Travis d’Arnaud credits Marcell Ozuna for recent surge

MLB: MAY 09 Red Sox at Braves

Despite being down three All-Stars, the Braves just keep stacking wins.

Most recently, Atlanta shut out the Miami Marlins as Bryce Elder made his 2024 debut, throwing 6.2 scoreless innings despite giving up eight hits, including three in the first inning. The 2023 All-Star began the year in Gwinnett, same as he did last year and is already making a case to remain in Atlanta.

The Braves only put up three runs, two of which were courtesy of the hottest man on the planet — Travis d’Arnaud. The veteran backstop was thrust into an everyday role following Sean Murphy’s injury, and he struggled for a bit.

Then, the Rangers came to town, and d’Arnaud decided to turn into prime Barry Bonds, hitting three home runs on Friday, including a grand slam and following it up with another on Saturday, but he wasn’t done.

Last night, after a Marcell Ozuna walk, d’Arnaud crushed his fifth home run in eight plate appearances. The Braves would tack on another run by way of an Adam Duvall walk and David Fletcher single, and it was all they would need, finishing off the Fish 3-0.

During the post-game interview, Travis d’Arnaud had an interesting comment, crediting his recent surge to Marcell Ozuna.

The turnaround the Big Bear has experienced in just a calendar year is nothing short of a miracle.

In April 2023, Marcell Ozuna hit .085 with two extra-base hits, two RBIs and a .397 OPS in 18 games. Once the calendar turned May, Ozuna hit nearly .300 with 28 doubles, 38 home runs, 98 RBIs, and a .969 OPS in 126 games. That production has continued in the 2024 campaign.

His .687 slugging percentage and 27 RBIs lead all of baseball, and his nine home runs lead the league. He boasts a 1.087 OPS and is clearly sharing his wealth of knowledge.

The Braves were expected to move on from Ozuna at some point last season during his horrid stretch to begin the year. His contract, track record, work ethic, and most importantly, presence in the locker room convinced Alex Anthopoulos to hang on, and boy is Atlanta’s GM glad he did.

Last year, when Michael Harris II was struggling following a pair of early-season injuries, a pep talk from the Big Bear propelled the 2022 Rookie of the Year to another impressive season.

Marcell Ozuna’s impact on the field has been tremendous, but his presence off the field has been just as noteworthy, and Travis d’Arnaud is just the latest example.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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