St. Louis Cardinals: Explaining Marcell Ozuna’s lack of production

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CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 17: Marcell Ozuna #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 17, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 5-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 17: Marcell Ozuna #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 17, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 5-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals’ big off-season acquisition is off to a horrible start. There is reason for optimism though.

St. Louis Cardinals‘ slugger, Marcell Ozuna, is not producing right now. He’s hitting .243 with only two home runs. His on-base percentage sits at .261, only walking three times in 119 plate appearances. He’s slugging .330. His OPS is .591. Brutal!

His OPS is 16th worst in all of baseball among qualified hitters. His wRC+, a comprehensive statistic that measures a hitter’s value based on each outcome, is at 66. The league average is 100, therefore he’s 34% under league average. His walk percentage is eighth worst in baseball at 2.5%.

I could keep going, but let’s stop there.

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He does have two positives going for him right now – he’s on pace for 95 RBI and is sixth in all of baseball in defensive runs saved in left field.

Even with all of that negative mentioned above, I think there is a lot of reason for optimism going forward for the St. Louis Cardinals left fielder.

First and foremost, his hard hit percentage sits at 47.7%. This is eighth best in all of baseball. It’s about 10% higher than his career average, and about 8% higher than last year, the year he hit .312 with 37 home runs and had an OPS of .924. His soft% and medium% are both down too.

So, he’s hitting more balls hard, less balls soft, but he’s hitting .243. What does this tell us? He’s hitting into some bad luck. His BABIP sits at .302 right now. This is 24 points below his career average and 53 points lower than his BABIP from his career year last season. This should even out over time.

He’s hitting slightly more ground balls this year, however, and he is hitting more line drives. His HR/FB% is way down too. This year, it sits at 7.7%. His career number is 14.8% and last year it was 23.4%. This statistic, like BABIP, normally evens out close to career numbers.

So while there is cause for concern right now – his batting average, OBP, OPS, etc. – I do think there is some reason for optimism as the season continues.

Next: WAR, what is it good for?

What do you think? Is Ozuna getting unlucky? Will he come out of this slump? Let me know. Thanks for reading.

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