When it comes to Spring Training, statistics can be deceiving

FILE – In this Aug. 16, 2020, file photo, Atlanta Braves’ Marcell Ozuna watches his single during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Miami. The Braves are bringing back Ozuna, signing the slugger to a $65 million, four-year contract. The Braves announced the deal for the 2020 NL home run and RBI leader Friday night, Feb. 5, less than two weeks before pitchers and catchers are set to report for spring training. The deal includes a fifth-year club option for $16 million with a $1 million buyout. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

March 15, 2021 –
BY KEVIN MCALPIN
680THEFAN, ATLANTA – When it comes to Spring Training, often times statistics can be deceiving. Some players put up monster numbers, make clubs, and it never translates to the regular season. Others scuffle in March and put up MVP type numbers when it really counts. The latter was the case for Marcell Ozuna in 2020. Ozuna, in his first season with the Braves, as he was just 3-for-28 with 14 strikeouts in the abbreviated Spring session. And throughout the first few weeks of Spring Training 2021, Ozuna is once again off to a slow start, hitting just .125 over eight Grapefruit League contests. So, is anyone in the Braves clubhouse really worried about Ozuna?

“He’s one you don’t worry about” skipper Brian Snitker said over the weekend. “When the lights come on and that thing gets real, so will he” Snitker added. Ozuna is entering the first year of his four year deal that he inked in early February and is coming off a season that saw him enter the final game of the regular season with a chance at a Triple Crown. His 18 homers and 56 RBI were both tops in the National League and his bat provided ample insurance as Freddie Freeman cruised to an MVP award. 

So, is anyone really still worried about Marcell Ozuna’s slow start? If his teammates and manager aren’t, i will follow suit and trust the back of the baseball card. A lifetime .276 hitter with a career .801 OPS, Ozuna has averaged 27 homers and 97 RBI in each of his first eight Big League seasons. Remember, he had a slow spring and summer camp last year. And things turned out just fine for the Braves left fielder. 

Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and @BravesRadioNet

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