St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals need Marcell Ozuna to ‘heat up’ in May.
The St. Louis Cardinals offense has been running between luke warm and cold through April. The key to heating it up in May is Marcell Ozuna.
Marcell Ozuna was brought to the St. Louis Cardinals with the express intent of giving the offense more punch in 2018. The results for Ozuna has thus far been mixed, although not a certainly not a disaster.
The St. Louis Cardinals offense was “lit up” in April by Tommy Pham and Jose Martinez, with help from Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong. However, much like the overall offense, Marcell Ozuna has been running warm and well, down right chilly, much like the weather in April. Thus, his overall impact on the Cards offense has yet to be full realized.
Ozuna entered this weekend’s series with the Chicago Cubs with a 2 HR, 17 RBIs, and a slash line of .243/.261/.330. His two home runs are tied for seventh on the team, with role players Jedd Gyorko and Greg Garcia. His .591 OPS leads only Kolten Wong among position players , and so far trails his six-year career OPS of .778. Also, his current WAR of -0.1 is the lowest of his career and is only ahead of Dexter Fowler(-0.7) among position players.
This compares to his 2017 season where he had a .312 BA, a slash line of .376/.548/.924, and a WAR of 5.8. He also had Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich hitting with him in the middle of the lineup while in Miami as opposed to Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler in St. Louis.
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We know Ozuna is a much better hitter than he has shown so far in 2018, and so does Marcell. “Just feeling impatient,” Ozuna told Ben Frederickson of the Post Dispatch recently. “I just feel, like a little hyper. That I’m trying to do too much.”
Ozuna’s swing rate is up from his career average, nearly 4%. His hard contact rate is up 44%, which is good, except he is hitting more grounders than in the past. This could be due to impatience, trying to prove himself to a new team and fans.
However, it’s very early and the weather Is warming up. For a player like Ozuna, who played six years in Miami, that will be key. As weather warms, so will Ozuna, and so will the Cardinal offense.
With Paul DeJong, Kolten Wong, and Jedd Gyorko now contributing more to the offense, hopefully we’ll see more vibrant production from the Cardinals. If they can also get Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter going, even better.
This weekend series with the Cubs is an important early season test. Let’s hope Marcell Ozuna and the Cardinal offense will turn a corner.
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