Braves: The real secret behind Marcell Ozuna’s resurgence

Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images)
Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images) /

The secret sauce to Marcell Ozuna no longer being terrible for the Atlanta Braves is quite the revelation.

All it took was one swing to change the entire dynamic for Marcell Ozuna, possibly saving his Atlanta Braves tenure in the process.

Noah Griffith of Braves Today pointed out that a hit to the right side on May 2 was Ozuna’s first one of the season in which he didn’t pull. Ozuna is a notorious flailer at the plate, always pulling his front shoulder and trying to hit everything to the left-field foul pole, and beyond. A refined change at the plate has returned him to 2020 form, the one in which he led the NL in RBI and home runs.

After hitting .091 in April, Ozuna is slashing .343/.421/.746 with eight home runs, 19 RBI and 23 base knocks. He is spraying the ball all over the diamond, which has made it difficult for the opposition to play defense on him. Outside of Ronald Acuña Jr. being in the midst of an NL MVP-caliber season, one could easily argue that Ozuna has been the best Braves player in May so far.

The cool part about this is Ozuna has picked up the slack left by Austin Riley and Michael Harris II.

Marcell Ozuna’s May offensive surge has come at perfect time for Atlanta Braves

Despite not being healthy for pretty much the entire season, the Braves have the best record in the National League by percentage points over the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team they narrowly avoided home sweep embarrassment to earlier this week. Atlanta also holds the largest lead of any first-place team in all of baseball, as the Braves are 5.5 games better than the New York Mets.

A big reason the Braves have been able to essentially hold serve after their blistering hot start to the regular season is that they seemingly beat up on inferior competition. While they have had trouble vs. fellow World Series contenders, Atlanta will regularly take two-of-three from a team it is way better than. It has also been a different cast of characters swinging the lumber every night.

While I do have reservations about how the starting rotation and bullpen will hold up long-term, I have faith that Atlanta’s lineup is too deep for all of its bats to grow cold at the same time. Riley seems to have turned a corner, while Harris seems to be still down bad. All the while, Ozuna continues to play at a level worthy of his contract that was deemed an albatross only weeks ago.

As long as Atlanta can lean on about three or four guys offensively, this team will be hard to beat.

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