Marcell Ozuna's Bounce-Back Season Could Help the Marlins Make the Playoffs

Ozuna owns a 16-game hitting streak. Can he keep up the pace and help the Marlins earn a postseason spot?

In 2014, the Miami Marlins’ young outfield of Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Giancarlo Stanton led the team to 77 wins, a 15-win improvement from 2013.

Ozuna posted a 4.5 WAR and a 114 OPS+ in 2014, which was his first full season.

Heading into 2015, the team was expecting to vie for a playoff spot behind similar production from their trio of outfielders. Unfortunately, Yelich struggled with a back injury to start the year, Stanton only played 74 games due to injury, and Ozuna spent 33 games with Miami’s Triple-A club after hitting just .249/.301/.337 in the first half.

However, Ozuna showed signs of improvement after being called back up from Triple-A. Over his final 112 plate appearances in 2015, Ozuna hit .301/.357/.466 with 3 home runs, 8 doubles, and 14 RBI.

Now, in 2016, the Miami Marlins own a 21-17 record, and their outfield is a big reason why. Yelich, Stanton, and Ozuna have combined for 3.3 WAR so far this year, which ranks fourth among all outfields of baseball.

Over 37 games this season, Ozuna is hitting .308/.353/.524 with 7 home runs, 4 doubles, 3 triples, and 20 RBI. His OPS+ of 133, weighted on-base average (wOBA) of .376, and Isolated Power (ISO) of .217 are all career bests.

In the month of May, Ozuna has been incredible, as he’s hit .417 with a 1.119 OPS. Last night in Philadelphia, Ozuna extended his hitting streak to 16-games with a 447-foot bomb in his first at-bat.

With his streak at 16 games, Ozuna owns the third-longest hitting streak in the MLB this season, trailing Eric Hosmer and Jackie Bradley.

Ozuna attributes some of his success to using bats belonging to Marlins’ hitting coach Barry Bonds. But, here we take a look at some of Ozuna’s batted ball profile.

Year HR/FB% FB% GB% Cent%
2014 16.8% 33.8% 48.6% 36.5%
2015 9.3% 30.8% 48.1% 35.0%
2016 17.5% 37.4% 43.9% 39.3%

Ozuna's home run to fly ball rate is right in the healthy range for hitters. He's also been hitting the ball in the air more often than in the past, resulting in fewer ground balls. And, lastly, Ozuna is hitting the ball up the middle with more regularity.

Behind Ozuna’s 16-game hitting streak, the Fish have won 11 of their last 17 games. It seems his finish to the 2015 season was no fluke, and combined with Yelich and Stanton’s production, the Marlins are finally getting what they expected out of their outfield.

Miami will be a team to watch as the season progresses. Our algorithm sees them as the 13th-best team in the Majors and gives them a 36.9% chance to make the playoffs, the 13th-best odds in the MLB.