Jobu touts another rookie performer that has been turning some heads, Miami’s Marcell Ozuna.
Look. No one really cares about the Marlins. I know it. You know it. Jeffrey Loria’s wallet definitely knows it too. You know what’s great about when teams give up on life in the middle of a season? Rookies! Lots and lots and lots of rookies! Well, in the Marlins’ case, they gave up last year, so it works out even better for the Rookie Spotlight Series. This week’s profile goes to Marcell Ozuna, a guy the fish just called up a couple of weeks ago when slugger Giancarlo Stanton got injured. With the Marlins desperately in need of an injection of talent into their pitiful offense, Ozuna really got his chance to make a lasting impression. So far, he’s done that quite well.
Ozuna made his debut on April 30th against the Mets. He got his first major league hit that night (a single), and has done nothing but hit since then, filling the stat sheet with a .326/..367/.500 slash line. In his twelve games, he’s hit 5 doubles and homered once. Not bad for a 22-year old who was left off of the Baseball Prospectus top 100 prospects list this season (Baseball America ranked him 75th, at least). So, where did he come from?
Ozuna was born in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. He was signed as an amateur free agent by the Marlins in 2008 (at least they do that well). At age 17, he began his trek to the big leagues in the Dominican Summer league, before moving on to the Gulf Coast league Marlins in 2009. He made his way through A and A- the next year, and spent 2012 in A+, where he started this year. Just 14 games into his season, he ended up first in AA and then on the big league club. So far, he’s hitting like he’s trying to get another promotion (maybe he thinks he got called up to AAA?).
Scouts describe him as a pretty typical right-fielder. He’s 6’2″, 220 lbs and boasts “light tower power and a plus arm” (Baseball Prospectus). In the minors, he topped out at 24 homers and 95 RBI in 2012, and had hit 5 homers in 10 AA games this year before he got the call. Although he’s struck out over 100 times consistently in the minors, it seems his swing is leveling out a bit and those numbers are slowly trending downward. He has the potential to be a pretty useful player, even stealing 17 bases in A ball in 2011.
With Stanton not looking like he’s going to be coming back any time soon, Ozuna might be in the lineup for a while this season. With the other OF options including Juan Pierre and Justin Ruggiano, I don’t think Ozuna will have a lot of trouble securing a roster spot if, and when, Stanton comes back either. He’s not going to keep hitting .400, but he does seem to be holding his own so far in his brief major league career. Let’s keep him on the radar. Marlins fans need something to be happy about.
Featured image courtesy of: The Associated Press
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