For most of the season, Marcell Ozuna has been rather disappointing. Mostly because expectations were so high coming into the year. He’s actually played to his career averages though and his power has come to life in the past month. Ozuna has been especially good since coming off the DL earlier this month.
Early in the season
The first couple of months of 2018 were less than impressive for the Cardinals biggest offseason addition. Ozuna only hit .262/.311/.337, with three home runs, 23 RBI and 42 strikeouts. That’s not exactly what the Cardinals were looking for from their new clean up hitter.
Marcell started to hit better in June, much better in fact. He hit seven homers, drove in 21 and slashed .333/.373/.578. His sOPS+ for the month was 161 and he had a .351 BAbip and 156 wRC+. Unfortunately, he couldn’t sustain the success in July. He slashed .210/.250/.314 with three homers and 14 RBI with an sOPS plus of 52 and his wRC+ dropped to 50. The abysmal slump he went into during July had a lot of people worried, but he bounced back.
Over the entirety of the first half he hit .268 with 10 home runs, 49 RBI, an 89 wRC+ and a .301 wOBA. If it weren’t for June his numbers would’ve been even worse, but he did have a really good month.
August and September
Since the beginning of August, Ozuna has been a different hitter. The power still didn’t show up until the end of August, but now that it has, he’s been the hitter the Cardinals traded for.
Last month he hit .321/.368/.494, with three home runs, 11 RBI a .338 BAbip and a sOPS+ of 134. He also had a .367 wOBA and 132 wRC+. His game really stepped up when the calendar turned to September though.
This month, Ozuna has hit .342 with a .763 SLG and a 199 sOPS+. He’s already hit five home runs and drove in 10. His wOBA is .457 and his wRC+ is 192. Over the past week, he’s slashed .350/.333/.850 with three home runs and eight RBI.
What to expect the rest of the way
His last two months have pushed his season numbers to respectable levels. Going into the weekend Ozuna has hit .280 with 21 home runs, 79 RBI, a 104 wRC+ and a 2.3 WAR. He’s going to fall well short of the season he had in 2017, when he hit 37 homers and drove in 124 runs, but he is going to hit his career averages.
As much as fans and media thought Ozuna could be the 35+ home run guy again this season, when it’s all said and done, that won’t be the case. He is going to do what should have been expected of him though, and that’s hit 20-25 home runs and drive in around 100 runs. That’s what he’s been in the past with the exception of last year.
It will be interesting to see if this recent showing of power will last for the remainder of the season. If it does it could really strengthen the Cardinals chances of making the postseason, where a red hot Marcell Ozuna would be a lot of fun to watch.
The Cardinals playoff chances according to FiveThirtyEight are at 76%. They did drop the series finale to the Pirates on Wednesday, but they still took two out of three games in the series, got back to within 3.5 games of the Cubs and sustained their two-game lead for the second Wild Card position.
The Redbirds upcoming schedule will be very detrimental in their hunt for October. Starting tonight, they have a four-game set with the Dodgers who are right behind them in the Wild Card race. After that, they travel to Atlanta to take on the first place Braves for three games. After a day off they will get three games against San Francisco, before they finish the season up with three-game sets against the Brewers and Cubs. These last 16 games are make or break for the Cardinals.
Featured Image by Jeff Roberson of the AP
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