I’ll admit I was higher on Marcell Ozuna than most coming into the season. I was surprised the Braves decided to hang onto him after his DUI arrest last year, but when he returned, he showed flashes of the player he once was, hitting .299 with three homers and an .860 OPS over his last 20 games. Ozuna also followed that up with a promising Spring Training, hitting .315 with six doubles and a homer over just 18 games. Despite what anybody wants to think, The Big Bear earned a spot on the Opening Day roster. Unfortunately, things haven’t looked anything remotely the same since the regular season began.
After an 0-for-4 night at the plate last night with three strikeouts, Marcell Ozuna’s average on the season is down to a paltry .083. He only has three hits in 36 at-bats, even if two of those knocks were home runs. It’s not unreasonable to say Ozuna has been the worst player in Major League Baseball so far this season. He’s a designated hitter that can’t hit, and when he is asked to play left field, he’s one of the worst defensive outfielders in the game. Ozuna has already racked up -0.5 WAR this season, which is almost unfathomable in just 11 games.
What’s even more discouraging is the eye test might be even worse than the box scores. More often than not, Ozuna walks up to the plate flails at three pitches hopelessly like he’s channeling his inner Mike Foltynewicz and walks back to the dugout with his head held down while a chorus of boos reign down from the Truist Park crowd. His at-bats haven’t just been uncompetitive; they’ve been unwatchable, which makes it difficult to believe he’s ever going to put together a hot stretch at the plate ever again, even if it has only been a couple of weeks.
Originally, I thought the Braves would give him a leash of a few months entering the season. If he didn’t hit by then, they would probably finally cut their losses. He earned some opportunities after the way he performed to end last season and during Spring Training, but as Brian Snitker noted after Tuesday’s game, pre-season results don’t matter anymore.
Snitker on Marcell Ozuna: “He had a good spring, but this is what counts.”
Indicated he intends to keep playing him, for now.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) April 13, 2023
The Braves have stuck with Marcell Ozuna for so long despite his struggles on and off the field over the last few years, but to say his leash is short right now is an understatement. He’s hanging to his MLB life by a thread, and if he doesn’t start putting together better looking at-bats soon, I don’t see how he’s still on the roster by the summer months.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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