Braves Magic Number to Win NL East: 20 (A look at Ozuna’s season)

With the Atlanta Braves cutting their magic number to win the division to 20, now is a good time to discuss The Big Bear being awaken from hibernation.
Atlanta Braves v San Francisco Giants
Atlanta Braves v San Francisco Giants / Suzanna Mitchell/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages
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The Atlanta Braves took advantage of a great hitter’s ballpark in Colorado on Monday night. Their 14-4 victory over the Rockies put them one game closer to claiming their sixth straight NL East title. 

The magic number for the Braves to win the division is 20, the jersey number of “The Big Bear.” How could we let this opportunity pass to discuss Marcell Ozuna’s season? 

After last night, Ozuna is hitting .265 with 29 homers and 71 runs driven in. While these may be the numbers Atlanta anticipated from Ozuna all along, the start of the season did not look so promising.

A mix of complications off the field and severely underperforming to start the season had Braves fans across the country calling for Ozuna’s trade or release. 

In 2021, he signed a 4 year/$65 million contract with the Braves. Finding a team that would be willing to pick up any of that contract with the way he was playing would’ve been impossible. 

However, the organization did not feel the need to trade him and had a good feeling that he would eventually turn things around. He has done just that and is currently on a seven game hitting streak. 

After battling to keep his batting average at or above .100 through the first month or so of the 2023 season, Ozuna now is just one homer shy of 30. To put that into perspective, he has only hit 30+ home runs one time in his 11 year MLB career in which he is a 2X all-star. 

Marcell Ozuna has improved the team by improving himself in 2023. He went from hitting 7-8 in the lineup, seemingly being a sure out for opposing pitchers to now hitting homers and driving in runs in the middle of the order for the best team in the MLB. 

Atlanta will look to knock their magic number a little bit lower on Tuesday night in Game 2 against the Colorado Rockies.