The Cardinals have reeled in Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. What is the fantasy fallout of the deal?
The Cardinals failed at landing Giancarlo Stanton, but that has not stopped their pursuit for an impact bat. Staying with the Marlins as a trade partner, the Cards landed Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins for four prospects. What is the fantasy fallout from the deal?
Marcell Ozuna was flirting with a breakout since 2015, and last season we finally saw what fantasy owners had been waiting for. Ozuna was a top-five OF in the game last season, on both sides of the ball, finishing with a .312/37 HR/124 RBI/.924 OPS line, and a Gold Glove.
Ozuna was terrific all-season. He has lacked consistency over his career, but he posted no lower than a .295/4 HR/15 RBI line in any month in 2017. He stayed healthy as well, playing in 159 games and even upped his BB rate to a career-best 9.4%.
Digging deeper into his batted ball data, Ozuna maintained solid 19% LD, 47% GB, 34% FB, 43% Med, and 39% Hard contact rates. The GB rate is a little high, and 23% of his FB went for HR last season was quite the jump. But, to see his Hard contact rate jump to up near 40%, it is clear that he was squaring nearly everything up last season.
Ozuna also excelled versus both lefties, .305/3 HR/15 RBI/.804 OPS, and righties, .313/34 HR/109 RBI/.955 OPS. Everything about his season clicked, and those owners that took on a flier on him certainly were rewarded.
The move to St. Louis makes Ozuna the focal point of the Red Birds’ offense, Now St. Louis does not appear to be done adding bats, but their OF situation looks to be set. WIth Tommy Pham’s emergence, and Dexter Fowler signing just a year ago, Ozuna will complete the trio of starters.
The Cardinals seem to be turning the page on Stephen Piscotty, and Randal Grichuk, meaning that Ozuna will slide smack dab into the middle of the order. While it is still too early to project St. Louis’ entire lineup, one would assume that a combination of Fowler, Pham, and Matt Carpenter will be around Ozuna.
In term of counting stats potential, Ozuna would be better-suited batting third behind Fowler and Carpenter, with Pham following him. A large part of his fantasy success last season was that he had a dynamic trio of Yelich/Gordon/Stanton in front of him in the order. So hopefully the Cards are not done adding just yet.
With all that said, Ozuna still shapes up to be a top-10 OF selection next season. It is hard to bank on another .300+ AVG considering his contact rate is still only 72%, and his 33% Chase rate has not changed. But, the power is legitimate, his AVG HR distance was 411 ft. last season and he is moving to a better home ballpark.
Look for Ozuna to post another solid, .270/35 HR/100 RBI, type of line in 2018.
On the other side of the deal, the Marlins, of course, got a better return than the Stanton deal. The crown jewel of the deal for Miami is Sandy Alcantara.
Alcantara possesses one of the most electric arms among prospects, as his fastball sits routinely in the upper 90s. He struggles with his command at times thanks to the sharp late movement he has on his two seamer, and curveball. In the Arizona Fall League, he was noted to have the best fastball and easiest velocity among anyone there, which says a lot since the AFL is stacked full of top arms.
He debuted with the Cardinals last season out of the bullpen, after posting a 4.31 ERA/106 K over 22 starts at AA. He appeared in five games in the majors, posting a 4.20 ERA/14 K/8 BB line over 15 innings.
Alcantara is only 21-years-old, yet the Marlins rotation is wide open. If Miami is willing to insert him to start the 2018 season, he becomes one of the more intriguing rookie fantasy SP, and worth a late-round look.