St. Louis Cardinals: Marcell Ozuna is making us all eat crow
Many publications including ours wrote off Marcell Ozuna as a valuable member of the St. Louis Cardinals. He is making us all look very wrong.
What a turnaround. Marcell Ozuna is making every St. Louis Cardinals fan or otherwise look stupid at the moment with the job he is doing with the bat. I am not above criticism here as I was one of the people who wrote that Ozuna should be off the team.
While I still believe that no matter what Ozuna does with the bat this year, he shouldn’t be a guy to look at resigning at any point this year. The dilemma here is that if he doesn’t perform then he is going to be bad and he shouldn’t play, but if he does perform well, he will (as a Scott Boras client) ask for more money than he is worth.
The surprising thing is how quickly the narrative has changed, even among us here at Redbird Rants.
Coming into 2019, there were so many things that signaled trouble for Ozuna. Whether it be Mozeliak having to travel to go check on him because he just didn’t know how his shoulder was, or how bad he looked in almost every way in Spring Training, there wasn’t much to see that gave me any hope for a breakout year.
Then he came out and over the couple weeks struggled while making a fool of himself in the field. A lot of people on Twitter were fed up, myself included. I wrote in this article that Ozuna shouldn’t be on the team by the end of 2019, and this isn’t necessarily something that’s changed. But, look where we are now…
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Tied for the lead on the team with eight bombs this year, Ozuna is hitting .271/.363/.671 and although a defensive bounce back in the right direction is tough to imagine at the moment, he is really being the cleanup batter that all of us hoped he would be last year.
Let me again say that I was wrong about Ozuna.
As of right now, Ozuna is currently the 7th best cleanup hitter in the MLB by wRC+ with his own mark of 167. Moving that filter into just the National League, and the only players better than him have been Cody Bellinger and Ronald Acuna Jr.
That’ll do big man.
The biggest question now is consistency. If Ozuna can keep this up, he will earn himself a nice big paycheck this offseason which I guess he would’ve earned. To me, that doesn’t change how the Cardinals should view Ozuna. The relationship is still fractured I believe and there were too many warning signs that – even if it’s working out now- should deter them from handing him a big fat contract.
Sometimes you have to go out on a limb and hold an opinion. I was not alone in my opinion that Ozuna was done and washed up, but in this situation, what’s wrong with being wrong? He is confident, playing with a lot of emotion and I love it. He still may not be able to get anybody out with his arm or make too many dazzling plays in left, but that bat will make up for his fielding in my opinion.