The Miami Marlins have been batting far superior to last years’ version of the Fish. However, there is one oddity within the lineup.
There is something even more strange about the lineup than the first glance catcher in the two-hole. Marcell Ozuna batting 6th in the lineup. Justin Bour has been on a bit of a cold streak to start the season, while Ozuna has been on fire, figuratively speaking of course.
The numbers just do not support the decision to leave Bour batting behind Giancarlo Stanton, who has been on a frost streak of his own. This streak may be caused by the reluctance to pitch to Stanton when the slumping Bour is right behind him.
Bour on the season has been dismal thus far. Batting only .167/.270/.315, Bour has not been the protection that the Fish have needed for Stanton. However, the numbers for Ozuna could not be more polar opposite.
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Slashing a magnificent .339/.385/.610 with a team leading five long balls and 19 RBI, Ozuna would be the perfect protection for the slugging Stanton. While Stanton has struggled a bit to start off, recently he has turned the wheel and improved from his horrendous start.
A slow start for Stanton is nothing unusual, but he has really picked up the pace going deep twice and batting .263. Which is similar to Ozuna’s stats over the past seven games. Think of what the numbers could be if they were back-to-back.
Arguments for Bour Batting 5th
When it comes to Bour batting in the five-hole, there is one glaring and obvious reason why he has stayed there. Mixing up the handedness of the batter. The first six batters of the Marlins alternate between left and right nicely.
This makes it difficult for opposing managers to have favorable pitching match-ups consecutively. A left handed pitcher may come in, walk Stanton, and then pitch to Bour. But, this would also allow for them to turn and walk Ozuna right after, or lift the lefty for a righty.
Bour also has power, that cannot be denied. Is it Stanton power? No. But, when Bour is on, he can absolutely blister the ball. With that argument though, so can Ozuna. We have seen El Oso absolutely demolish pitches over that left field fence in Marlins Park numerous times.
Arguments for Ozuna Batting 5th
I think that we should take a look at the Orioles’ lineup as a perfect example of what having a solid number five hitter can do for a team.
The Orioles feature one of the more fearsome three, four, five hitters you can find. Manny Machado, Chris Davis, and Mark Trumbo are all All-Star talent in their own right. When you group these three together, there are bound to be impressive results.
The Fish could easily have a similar setup. Christian Yelich, Stanton, and Ozuna could group to make a terrifying three, four, five. Again, all three have All-Star potential in their own right.
Pitchers would tremble knowing that if they walk even one of them, that there is another huge bat coming up right behind the next. With Ozuna in the five spot, pitchers would still have to face a dangerous batter in Bour.
The damage that these three do on their own is phenomenal. Add Ozuna to that list and you have a beastly group of batters.