Nearly a month ago the Marlins made the somewhat curious decision to send Marcell Ozuna down to Triple-A. Just looking at his offensive numbers — and not reading into their potential displeasure with him showing up to camp somewhat out of shape or he and agent Scott Boras’ rejection of an extension— it isn’t like Ozuna was setting the world on fire with his bat. Owner of a .249/.301/337 batting line before being sent down, it’s hard to argue something too sinister, even from the Marlins. Sure, the team could be playing service clock games, but they would hardly be alone in doing such a thing. As Ozuna continues to pile up the stats in the minors, he was hitting .322/.365/.576 with three home runs in 63 plate appearances, prior to yesterday’s game, I’m expecting to see Ozuna up sooner rather than later.

If we are to go by the service clock theory, and given Ozuna’s performance in Triple-A, it seems plausible, we would be seeing approximately seven weeks of playing for the outfielder when he’s called up. The 31-year-old Cole Gillespie shouldn’t be blocking Ozuna for long, even with Gillespie hitting a respectable .277 in 22 games. Ozuna blasted 23 big league home runs last season, however he hit just four before being sent down. It isn’t as though last year’s power came out of nowhere, particularly when accounting for the fact Ozuna hit 20+ home runs in three consecutive seasons (and in different levels of the minors) in 2011-13.

Digging a little deeper — and with a major cap tip to Baseball Heat Maps, we can take a look at Ozuna’s average fly ball distance (in feet) during his time in the show.

 YEAR HR FB% HR/FB% Fly Ball Distance IFFB%
2013 3 32.6% 4.2% 255.5 7%
2014 23 33.8% 16.8% 291.5 7.3%
2015 4 27.6% 6.5% 269.8 11.3%

An uptick in his infield fly rate in a smaller sample size has hurt Ozuna’s average fly ball distance compared to last season. Even with the pop ups, via MLB’s Statcast leaderboards, we can see Ozuna was still crushing the ball at an average exit velocity of 92.5 mph, good enough to rank in the top-50. Similarly his 33.3% Hard% contact also ranks in the top 50, though given his pop ups, it shouldn’t come as a shock to his 19.6 percent Soft% rate as below average.

Given that a hitter’s pop up rate tends to normalize around the 500 plate appearances mark and Ozuna had just 322 to his name before being sent to Triple-A, I’m confident enough to trust his other 800ish PAs. He was able to make hard contact at an above average clip and from both his years in the minors as well as last season, we know Ozuna has raw power. As frustrating as his .088 ISO has been, count me among those looking forward to seeing Ozuna back in the big leagues. He makes for an ideal bounce back candidate in that he isn’t coming off of injury, he’s young, he’s shown an ability to drive the ball and he should be easily attainable. It may not even take a trade to add him to your roster as Ozuna is owned in less than 40 percent of CBS or Yahoo! leagues and a scant 22 percent of ESPN formats. I’m buying his stock wherever I can.

 

 

 
  1. Bro Jackson says:
    (link)

    Nice.

    Ozuna or P. Tucker ROS?

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @Bro Jackson: Tucker for now, but if Ozuna gets moved to a team with a hitter friendly park, that could shift.

  2. Timmah R says:
    (link)

    OZUNA want to set world on fire with bat. But first OZUNA must learn how to harness fire . You teach OZUNA many things. Brain now hurt but OZUNA will work on recent IFFB trend. OZUNA will spare you for sacrifice tonight. OZUNA make 60 percent of CBS leagues pay for their disloyalty.

  3. Conrad99 says:
    (link)

    Nice article. I thought it was funny that I dropped him after he was sent to the minors. That’s the only time that’s happened this year (besides Schwarber, I guess). I’m pretty sure if he’s good enough to play on my fantasy team, he’s good enough to play for the Marlins.

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @Conrad99: Thanks!

      I actually dropped him in a 12-teamer, but was lucky enough for him to still be there for me now.

  4. attgig says:
    (link)

    but the question is…when does he come back? or does he even come back? he’s being shopped from what I read…. rumors have indians interested.

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @attgig: Right, that’s the catch. Like I said, if we assume the Marlins are just playing service time games, then we can expect Ozuna back next week.

      If he’s traded, well, hopefully it’s to a good team.

  5. Scott says:
    (link)

    Better stash? Ozuna or Story?

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @Scott: Gotta go with Story.

  6. Dorothy ManTooth says:
    (link)

    Since the mets trade, is it finally time to drop Flores?

  7. Slimbo says:
    (link)

    What’s up buddy

    8 team keeper with 4 na slots.

    Do you like ozuna over nick Williams, dahl, Margot or Clint Frazier?

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @Slimbo: I’d keep Margot for sure, then Frazier, Williams and probably Ozuna.

      Prior to the outfield collision/injury I would have said Dahl, I’m just not sure how he’ll bounceback. So far, he hasn’t done too well, but it’s still early. Assuming your keeper deadline is some time after the season, I’d wait, but for now Ozuna > Dahl.

  8. Mike Hunt's Honorable Discharge says:
    (link)

    interesting you haven’t highlighted a very ugly truth about him that was mentioned all over the place preseason, last year he had a GB rate of 50%, i’m not sure how bad it was this year, but guys with that many GB don’t tend to hit 20 homers.

    • Mike Hunt's Honorable Discharge says:
      (link)

      @Mike Hunt’s Honorable Discharge: also, all that’s being proved by those ownership % for a guy in the minors is that a lot of owners have quit their teams.

Comments are closed.