Marcell Ozuna Heads to the Braves

Wow, in a surprise twist, free agent Marcell Ozuna settled for a one-year deal with the Braves. He now joins the third team of his career as he enters his age 29 season. So how might his offense be affected by the move from Busch Stadium (Cardinals) to Truist Park (Braves)? Well first, he has to tell his friends and family that he’ll be playing his home games at a stadium called Truist Park without laughing. That has to be the worst stadium name in all of sports right now. Outside of that challenge, let’s see what the park factors say (well, at least the 2018 ones!).

Park Factor Comparison
Team 1B 2B 3B HR SO BB GB FB LD IFFB Basic
Cardinals 101 99 96 93 97 98 101 101 102 102 96
Braves 102 101 93 95 99 99 101 99 102 101 101

Let’s begin with the hit type factors. The singles factor, which influences BABIP, is ever so slightly more favorable at Truist, though both parks boost singles. Ozuna’s BABIP has jumped around throughout his career, hitting a low of just .259 this past season, after setting a high of .355 in 2017. That’s a huge swing! From a singles factor perspective, Ozuna won’t experience much of an impact on his BABIP due to the move.

The doubles factors are also rather close, with Truist eking out a small advantage. Perhaps that adds an extra double to his ledger in 2020. Whoopee.

Ozuna’s triples total has declined since hitting a high of 6 in 2016, so we don’t care much about the small decline in factor here. Both parks reduce them, but with just about average speed, he would need a real triples-boosting park to enjoy any benefits.

You would have assumed that wherever Ozuna signed, it would be an upgrade in home run park factor. While technically correct, the boost here is minimal. He picked one of the few parks that is only marginally less pitcher friendly than his home for two seasons. I guess it’s a positive that Truist is a bit friendlier for homers, but it’s still a tough place to hit a dinger like Busch.

Ozuna’s HR/FB rate has really been up and down in his career, alternating between mid-teens and the low-20% range. So really the bigger question is which Ozuna shows up in 2020 and the ballpark is going to have limited effect.

The strikeout and walk factors are fairly similar, with Truist being closer to neutral for strikeouts, and also for walks. That’s a negative for the former, but positive for the latter. Ozuna has kept his strikeout rate in a relatively tight range since 2015, while his walk rate spiked this past season. Can he hold onto those walk rate gains?

Moving on to the batted ball type factors, we find lots of similarities, with only IFFB differing that matters. Both parks slightly boost pop-ups, but Truist slightly less so.

Overall, we find that Truist is actually marginally hitter friendly, versus Busch which clearly favored pitchers. That’s a good thing for Ozuna’s offense, even though it was more a combination of small gains in multiple places than a standout stat he’ll get a boost in.

Since the parks aren’t that much different and the offenses both solid, I don’t see Ozuna’s value changing much, if at all.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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What about his counting stats like runs/rbis? If hes hitting 4th behind acuna albies and Freeman, hes going to have tons of ribs