Several Braves are keeping active in the offseason in Winter leagues, and to no surprise, they’re performing well. The notable ones are Ronald Acuna Jr., Marcell Ozuna, Orlando Arcia, and Justin Dean.
Acuna, who mailed in a disappointing 2022 campaign by his standards, is playing for the Tiburones de La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League and has played in ten games, posting 15 hits in 34 at-bats, good for a .441 average. He’s blasted two home runs and driven in six runs, scoring ten himself. Ronald Acuna’s 1.106 OPS warrants the Braves’ confidence in him going into 2023.
Ozuna, a blackhole for much of the 2022 season, is playing for the Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League, playing in 13 games with 45 at-bats, resulting in a .222 average and one home run. His .695 OPS and other metrics are on par with what we saw him produce with the Braves last year, which isn’t encouraging. Hopefully, we see flashes of 2020 because Marcell Ozuna isn’t getting the benefit of the doubt from the fan base, given his off-the-field issues.
Arcia, who could play a significant role in 2023 if Dansby Swanson walks, is also playing in the Venezuelan Winter League with Acuna but on the Leones del Caracas. He’s played in seven games and has been producing just slightly above his career averages, with one home run and seven RBIs. Hopefully, Orlando Arcia’s best ball is ahead of him if he assumes the shortstop position with Vaughn Grissom next year.
Justin Dean is playing for the Caneros de Los Mochis in the Mexican Pacific Winter League, where he is raking, slashing .344/.432/.462 with 27 RBIs in 54 games, good for an .893 OPS. He might never be a star outfielder in Atlanta, but he will consistently produce quality at-bats and probably steal quite a few bases while playing spectacular defense. There’s a chance Dean eventually carves out a nice career for himself as a reserve outfielder, which is nothing to scoff at.
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