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What are we to do with Marcell Ozuna?

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Marcell Ozuna: he good, the bad and the ugly.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Most fantasy owners are not amused with what Marcell Ozuna has provided so far this year.  Through 200 plate appearances he has given his owners 3 homeruns, and one steal.  I've wished death on total strangers over far less, and as an owner of Ozuna in a dynasty, one would probably expect me to have similar feelings towards Marcell, but I believe I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Lets start with the lows, and move towards the highs.  Marcell has hit for basically no power so far this year.  His ISO is a terrible .099, his average home run and fly ball distance is 106th in baseball at 279.56 (right before Mark Teixeira, Stephen Vogt, and Mike Moustakas).  He also has an usually high infield fly percentage (11.4), and a very low home run to fly ball percentage (6.8)

Teams are catching onto how to pitch to Ozuna.  He does hit the ball to all fields, he doesn't hit outside pitches well, and the lower it gets, the worse he is.  This is no secret to MLB pitchers.

But Marcell hasn't counteracted this with much success.

and since batting average is so far from being stable at this point I went with line drive percentage, which further supports pitchers pounding Ozuna low and away.

So he obviously likes the ball in, and is not being fed many pitches there.  But the good part about this is that he is hitting for a career high average. This is incredibly hard to rely on, but through two months of the season, I'd rather have a guy who is getting hits as opposed to the guy who isn't.  So can these hits be explained?

Well, while what I'm about to site isn't your ordinary fantasy stat, but I believe it will be helpful.  When you look at average batted ball speed I believe you get an idea of what kind of contact a hitter is making.  For perspective the top two are Giancarlo Stanton, 98.44 mph, and Joc Pederson, 95.47 mph.  The bottom two are #282 Ichiro Suzuki, 80.77 mph, and Elian Herrera, 80.10mph. So Marcell Ozuna being #46 at 91.49mph gives me optimism, hard contact give a hitter more wiggle room.

Then according to fangraphs he has the 47th highest hard hit rate in baseball out of the 168 hitters that qualify for the batting title.  His 18% line drive rate isn't lighting the world on fire, but it is better than what he posted last year, and he is consistently spraying the ball to all fields this season, making him a player to not be shifted.

Season

Pull%

Cent%

Oppo%

2013

48.90%

31.10%

20.10%

2014

36.90%

36.50%

26.60%

2015

36.00%

34.70%

29.30%

Total

40.10%

34.60%

25.30%

So while I don't think Ozuna should be your OF1, I do think giving up on him now would not be advisable.  His season has not gone according to plan, but there is still time to change that this year.  His peripherals scream that he will regress back to more normal production.  Keeper and dynasty leagues should see if a buy low opportunity is available as he is still 24 years old, and better days may be just beyond the horizon.