Park Switch Fails to Boost Marcell Ozuna’s Value

The Marlins are in full-on fire sale mode and the latest player to say goodbye to Miami is 2017 breakout outfielder Marcell Ozuna. A career high .388 wOBA and 37 homers earned him a ticket out of town, as sources confirm he has been dealt to the Cardinals. We all know that Marlins Park was pitcher friendly, but unfortunately, he’s moving to another offense suppressing home park. Let’s check out the park factors, courtesy of StatCorner.

2017 Park Factor Comparison
Park Name R 1B 2B 3B HR GB FB LD K BB
Busch Stadium 88 103 89 90 82 104 100 96 96 100
Marlins Park 89 94 94 85 80 101 103 97 101 103
The more hitter friendly park factor is highlighted

Talk about a toss-up! Out of 10 factors, Marlins Park was more hitter friendly in six of them, with two of those “wins” being by just a point. This is essentially the same environment.

Did you have a clue that Busch Stadium was actually ever so slightly more run suppressing than Marlins Park this season?! Busch does inflate singles, especially compared to Marlins Park, which should help stave off the regression monster on Ozuna’s inflated BABIP. His xBABIP was just .314, so he was going to be in for quite a decline, but perhaps it won’t be as severe in his new digs.

The doubles and triples factors more or less cancel each other out, leaving Ozuna’s extra-base hit total unscathed. And that brings us to home runs, the whole reason we would be buying Ozuna for our fantasy teams. Busch was barely more favorable than Marlins Park this season, with both parks drastically dampening home run power.

Even with the big power spike this season, Ozuna has managed to maintain a respectable strikeout rate, somewhat driven by the fact that he has always swung at pitches more often than the average. When you run worse than average SwStk% marks, swinging more will help keep that strikeout rate in acceptable territory. Luckily, Busch actually reduced strikeouts, so that’s potentially a positive for his overall production.

Overall, this move does nothing for his fantasy value, from a strictly park factors perspective. Of course, there’s more to consider when evaluating how the move affects his value. Most obvious is that Ozuna would have been stuck on a Stantonless team with a pretty weak lineup, which would curtail his runs scored and runs batted in totals. The Cardinals lineup is no great shakes, but it’s at least average, and that’s much better than the Marlins, especially if they continue to sell off their starting lineup, figure to be.

So the park switch won’t change his value, but the lineup surrounding him will be better, which means his value is higher. BUT! He was probably overvalued to begin with and this move might increase the gap between his perceived and actual value even further. That’s because his Brls/BBE-driven xHR/FB rate by no means supported his 23.4% HR/FB outburst, so regression was certainly in the cards…which is a perfect pun at this very moment. Combined with a BABIP decline, an average ADP of 47 in the four too-early mocks is far too rich if you believe my Pod Projections.

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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4 years ago

His perceived value was based on the 2017 Marlins lineup, including Stanton. Had he remained with the team, that value likely would have fallen a bit by opening day. So the move to the Cards probably doesn’t change much.