2013 Marlin Maniac #6 Prospect: OF, Marcell Ozuna
By Ehsan Kassim
We are winding down on our top prospect list. What initially started at a top 15 list blossomed into a top 20 list as I continued to do more research. I did not know much about these prospects before I got started on this venture, but now with more knowledge of the Marlins system, I can tell you that there is a lot to look forward to in this system. It will just take some time and patience to see the seeds in this system grow into fruits.
Here is a quick recap of the top 20 prospects we have taken a look at so far:
- #20-Mason Hope, RHP
- #19- Zack Cox, 3B
- #18- Tom Koehler, RHP
- #17- Kolby Copeland, OF
- #16- Austin Barnes, INF-C
- #15- Alfredo Silverio, OF
- #14- Avery Romero, INF
- #13- Derek Dietrich, INF
- #12- Mason Hope, SP
- #11- Adam Conley, SP
- #10- Jake Realmuto, C
- #9- Jose Urena, SP
- #8- Rob Brantly, C
- #7- Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
The next prospect we will take a look at has all the tools that teams look from a right field outfield prospect: strong defense, big arm, and power. But he also mixes in good instincts in basestealing.
Feb 23, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Miami Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna (68) connects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The Marlins defeated the Cardinals 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Signed by the Miami Marlins as an amateur free agent in 2009
Birthdate: 4/15/1989 (22) Height: 6’2″ Weight: 190 lbs.
The Marlins signed Ozuna out of the Dominican Republic before the 2009 season. Ozuna has perhaps the best power and strongest outfield throwing arm in the Marlins system. He would be an ideal candidate to start in right field, if say there was not a superstar player manning that position already.
Ozuna flashes four of the five tools, with the hit tool still not present at this point. Ozuna suffers from a high-strikeout rate due to over-aggressive nature and poor pitch recognition.
Ozuna’s calling card has always been his strong power. While he does struggle to identify pitches out of the zone, when he makes contact with the ball, he sends it long ways away.
Although his strikeouts could be a cause for concern, prospect guru John Sickels feels Ozuna has a decent chance to adjust to that:
"4) Marcell Ozuna, OF, Grade B: Very dangerous power hitter had no problems hitting homers in difficult Florida State League at age 21. Will Double-A pitchers take advantage of his aggressiveness? Perhaps, but I am (for some reason) optimistic about his chances to adjust."
Marcell Ozuna entered the radar for Marlins fans after a strong debut in the Gulf Coast League, where he posted a .313/.377/.486 with five home runs. Much of his success came due to an overly inflated BABIP.
The following season, Ozuna had a monster break out season by hitting 21 home runs in just 293 plate appearances for low Class-A Jamestown. Ozuna posted a .267/.314/.556 slash line. His hitting did not come without any downside though, as he struck out in 32.1 percent of plate appearances. That forced many prospect experts to wonder if he could succeed as he moved up.
The 2011 campaign put some of those concerns to bed, as Ozuna hit 23 more home runs. This time he posted an improved .266/.330/.482. slash line. The most important aspect was that Ozuna reduced his strikeout rate to 21.9 percent. A very promising sign that he could be successful and make adjustments as he moved up the Marlins organization.
In 2012, in High-A, Ozuna posted a similar line of .266/.328/.476 with 24 home runs. He actually improved his strikeout rate a tad, moving it down to 21.5 percent. This all happened in the less hitter friendly parks of the Florida State League. Another positive step forward for Ozuna.
Although his strikeout issues and poor plate recognition have yet to deeply affect him in the minors, he should face a major test next season as he moves up to Double-A. If he can continue to improve against more advanced pitching, the Marlins have a extremely promising prospects on their hands.
However, Ozuna is going to miss at least the first month of the season, due to a broken bone in his left hand. Ozuna crashed into a chain-link fence chasing down a fly ball. He remained in the game but had to exit the game after catching the next flyball hit to him, due to discomfort.