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Monday, April 23, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: MARCELL OZUNA OUTFIELDER ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Well that has not gone according to plan.  When the St. Louis Cardinals completed a trade with the Miami Marlins to acquire slugging outfielder Marcell Ozuna last winter, the thinking was that they finally filled a perennial void at the position and at the same time, adding a much-needed home run hitter as well.  The timing seemed perfect as well since Ozuna had just come off a career-best campaign in 2017 when he slugged 37 home runs, drove in 124, scored 93, and batted .312 to place himself in the OF 1 tier for the following spring's fantasy baseball launch.  Given the fact Ozuna was still just 27 and only beginning his prime years, the expectations were high for an encore in 2018.  Fast forward to present time and the first month of Ozuna's tenure in St. Louis and for his 2018 fantasy baseball owners has been anything but smooth as he went into Monday's action with the following numbers:

.247
2 HR
11 RBI
8 R
0 SB

The above are absolutely pathetic numbers from Ozuna and he is right near the top of the bigger fantasy baseball busts relative to draft position with regards to the first month of season's production.  No matter where you look, Ozuna has been a letdown and about the only stable aspect of his game has been the bagel in the steals column.  So as we always do here, let's dig in a bit more to find out what the problem is and if it can be fixed.

What stands out right away when looking at Ozuna from an advanced metrics prism is his 27.1 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9.  Both of those numbers are awful and speak to how truly messed up Ozuna is at the dish.  Likely feeling pressure to validate numbers and also to show his new team he was worth picking up, Ozuna is really squeezing the bat right in pressing at the dish.  Consider that Ozuna has generally been a 19-22 K/9 guy and in 2017 had a very good BB/9 of 9.4 to bear this out.  So with that said, Ozuna will likely find his groove soon enough and begin to bring the average up through fewer K's and more walks.  That will also help to unleash more power as Ozuna shows more patience and waits for the pitch to drive.  Again we are talking about a 27-year-old youngsters who is just now entering into his prime so there is zero worry about any age-related decline.  Instead, Ozuna actually represents a very smart buy low in that he will never be cheaper and thus will supply some major value going forward.

So in the end, we feel strongly that Marcell Ozuna will be just fine and real soon we may add.  The guy is too talented to continue struggling like this and while I always felt he was more a 25-30 homer guy then the one who smacked 37 a year ago, Ozuna still offers a lot to those in the fantasy baseball community.


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