Atlanta Braves: Marcell Ozuna poised for huge payday in free agency

Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna is coming off the best year of his career in 2020, and has positioned himself for a big free agency payday.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna is living every player’s dream in 2020. Heading into free agency, he’s having the best year of his career. And it certainly doesn’t hurt his case that he’s putting his production on display on the biggest stage in baseball.

So for the second year in a row, he’ll test the free agency waters. But he won’t be settling for a one year contract this time. Whoever acquires his talents will have to pay a king’s ransom for them.

In 2020, Ozuna slashed .338/.431/.636 for an OPS of 1.067 and an OPS+ of 175. To put it lightly, he was absolutely mashing the baseball on a nightly basis. He was among the league leaders in average exit velocity at 93 mph, barrel rate at 15.4%, and hard hit rate at 54.4%. He absolutely demolished fastballs, seeing them at a 52.3% and slugging .783

And if there’s anything we know about baseball, it’s that hitting the ball hard is going to lead to success.

But hard hit % wasn’t the only improvement Ozuna made. He posted a 14.2% walk rate, the highest in his career by nearly 3%, and dropped his OAA from -8 in 2019 to -1 in 2020.

Drastic improvements across the board just before you get to sit back while teams bid on you. That’s the dream situation for any player in baseball.

Ozuna will also be helped by the likely continuation of the designated hitter in the national league. Even if his 2020 defensive numbers were just a fluke, it doesn’t even really matter. He can play the rest of career as the designated hitter and fully focus on destroying baseballs.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna may be well on his way to $100 million+ contract and every cent of it will be well spent if he can replicate this level of production.