Tuesday, July 21, 2020

What Does Marcell Ozuna Have Left Up His Sleeve?

Marcell Ozuna is a two-time All-Star. I forget about that, especially after his 'simply alright' Cardinals days, but he's started two ASG teams while a member of the Marlins. Yet, since then, he's yet to top 100 RBIs, 30 home runs or .300. Does that mean his 2017 season was a fluke, or was St. Louis not a great fit for him?

That's what the Braves aim to find out by plugging him into the outfield next to Ronald Acuna and Ender Inciarte. The Braves team we're getting this year honestly doesn't seem too different than the 2019 version. Donaldson's gone, Markakis is out, and Travis d'Arnaud is the new everyday catcher [let us pray for his prolonged health], but the core of this team is the same, and we're still building everything behind Freeman, Acuna and now Ozuna.

However, as stacked as the NL East seems to be this year, is it an alright assumption to say that the Braves are still looking like the best team here? The Nats now have an older core, the Mets are still rebuilding, the Phillies are one or two starters away, and the Marlins...no. The Braves may be the easy leaders here, and you have to hope  that guys like Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb can stay afloat this year, and that Cole Hamels can eventually find his way back to the rotation. This might be the most airtight lineup in  the division, and they could once again go into the playoffs if they get lucky.

It's also a matter of Marcell Ozuna, and whether or not he can have another consistently solid season, despite only having 60 games to prove himself. I'm still rooting for him, and it is the kind of lineup that needs a power hitter [rather than St. Louis, where he was a little drowned out], so he could be back to his old tricks, but I remember how off-kilter he felt in 2015, and how his slumps can show up. I really hope he can return to form this year.

Coming Tomorrow- The guy  that, against all odds, led the league in home runs last year.

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