Breakout Or Bust: Is Marcell Ozuna Destined To Disappoint In 2017?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Marlins’ Marcell Ozuna has developed into one of the more frustrating players for fantasy owners to value, hasn’t he?  We want to believe that he has the potential to reach Top 25 outfielder status, and he’s even shown the flashes of doing so, but he never quite reaches those levels (and has to overcome the inconsistencies he’s shown before).

The 2016 campaign certainly showed upside, at least on paper:

557 At Bats
.266 Batting Average (148 Hits)
23 Home Runs
76 RBI
75 Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.321 On Base Percentage
.452 Slugging Percentage
.296 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Maybe those numbers aren’t enough to excite us.  Outside of the power, which wasn’t even a standout number, what did he bring to the table?  Sure he wasn’t a drain on your average and he kicked in some RBI/R, but to be considered one of the elite in the game you need to show us more.  At 26-years old there obviously is the potential for him to develop into more, but can he?

As it is there are questions about the production, after he showed a dramatic split between the first and second half:

Half
AB
AVG
BABIP
HR
HR/FB
First323.307.3491717.5%
Second234.209.22969.1%

When it comes to the power, it’s hard to pinpoint where the truth lies.  His first half mark is similar to what he did back in 2014 (16.8%), but the second half resembles 2015 (9.3%).  Regardless, he’s never hit more than 23 HR in a season and even if he matches the better mark the chances are he’s not going to reach the 30 HR plateau (especially playing half his games in Miami).  Given the power around the game, that’s a significant strike against him (especially since it doesn’t come with stolen base potential).

As for the BABIP, the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle (.318 career BABIP).  Of course, there also is a significant risk in the strikeout department so even if he does post an elevated BABIP it’s not a given that he hits for a strong average.  Last season he posted an 11.6% SwStr% and 32.9% O-Swing%.  You also have to wonder if opposing pitchers will start throwing him fewer and fewer fastballs (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 6.79%
  • Breaking – 19.28%
  • Offspeed – 21.71%

Not surprisingly, that’s exactly what happened as the year moved on (and could help to explain his second half falloff):

  • April – 61.28%
  • May – 58.13%
  • June – 58.90%
  • July – 53.08%
  • August – 51.39%
  • September – 51.55%

The question now will be if Ozuna can make the adjustment, because it would appear that opposing pitchers have figured it out.  Even if he does, you could argue that he doesn’t bring enough power to really excite us.  Sure there’s upside, but there are several other outfielders who bring even more to the table.  Don’t select him based on his name, look elsewhere for your gamble.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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Make sure to check out our 2017 Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catcher03/20/1702/28/17
First Base01/16/1703/07/17
Second Base03/22/1703/09/17
Third Base02/06/1703/12/17
Shortstop02/13/1703/15/17
Outfield#1-20 |03/16/17

#21-40 |03/16/17
03/19/17
Starting Pitcher#1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17
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Relief Pitcher01/02/17--

3 comments

  1. BillBoy says:

    I traded Ozuna and Quintana for Yelich and Samardjia. In a vacuum, was that good?

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