Marcell Ozuna's red-hot start highlights why the Braves didn't give up on him

The 2023 Braves broke a lot of records, headlined by Ronald Acuña Jr, Matt Olson, and Austin Riley. However, their lights shined so brightly that one of the league’s best run producers went unnoticed.
Atlanta Braves designated hitter Marcell Ozuna is healthy, focused, and once again one of the league's best run producers.
Atlanta Braves designated hitter Marcell Ozuna is healthy, focused, and once again one of the league's best run producers. / Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
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Marcell Ozuna was once one of the game's most sought-after bats, but injuries and bad decisions derailed his career. Now he's back, and opposing pitchers have the challenge of facing a player who's healthy, focused, and more dangerous than ever.

Last Sunday, the Atlanta Braves recognized hitting coach Kevin Seitzer's Coach of the Year Award, Acuña Jr.’s Hank Aaron Award, along with his third Silver Slugger Award, Riley’s Second Sliver Slugger Award, and Matt Olson’s First Silver Slugger. Acuña and Riley were also recognized for their selection to the 2023 All-MLB Team First Team and Ozzie Albies’ selection to the 2023 All-MLB Team Second Team.

Voters forgot about Ozuna from the Braves

The NL had five players with over 100 games and 440 PA as a DH; the best of those was the Braves Marcell Ozuna, who hit 40 homers and batted .279/.352/.569/.921 in 520 PA as DH.

Bryce Harper came to the plate 394 times as a DH, hit only 11 homers, and batted .297/.398/.471 with a .870 OPS and136 wRC+. He ended up winning the Silver Slugger as DH, and the post announcing the winners referenced his season line total (at first base and DH) of 21 homers and .293/.401/.499 with a .900 OPS and 142 wRC+. It doesn’t mention any other contender, but it does give a subtle hint of why Harper won.

“Despite not debuting until May … and enduring a career-long power outage, Harper still socked 21 homers and had 51 extra-base… went homerless for 37 games …but once he snapped that streak on July 15, he looked like the player we all know...” (My emphasis added)

Harper wasn’t the best DH in 2023; he won because he’s Bryce Harper, and “…he looked like the player we all know.

I understand Harper is one of the game’s elite hitters, and the game’s elite always win these awards when it’s a close run without restrictions, but Ozuna’s season was just as good as Harper’s.