#MLBPlayers411 | Marcell Ozuna
With perennial All-Star Giancarlo Stanton, 2017 World Baseball Classic star Christian Yelich and the emergence of today's #MLBPlayers411, Marcell Ozuna, the Miami Marlins outfield has superb young talent from corner to corner.
Marcell, with a .307 batting average, 18 home runs and 50 RBIs, is quietly vying to return to the All-Star Game in his home ballpark later this summer.
His 50th RBI, which came on Monday night, was a big one. A single to deep center on an 0-2 count scored Dee Gordon and lifted the Marlins to an 8-7 walk-off victory over the Nationals.
“In that moment, after swinging at a 99-mph fastball inside, after that, I was thinking, ‘All right, stay short and put the ball in play.' That's what I did,” Ozuna said following the win.
The big hit was just the latest highlight for Marcell's season, one that is making it easy for manager Don Mattingly to pencil his name in the lineup every day.
“You're always confident with O (Ozuna),” Mattingly said after the win. “There's nobody that's going to out-stuff him. That's the one thing you're always confident in. Don't really care how hard you're throwing or what kind of stuff they have. If he's getting the ball in the strike zone, he has a good chance of hitting something.”
And hitting it hard. His .976 OPS and .582 slugging percentage are third only to Bryce Harper and Charlie Blackmon among National League outfielders. Defensively, Marcel leads NL left fielders in putouts (138) and is second in the league with four assists.
The 26-year-old Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native was signed by the then-Florida Marlins as a non-drafted free agent in February 2008. He spent 2010 and 2011 with Single-A Greensboro, after a year of rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League, and combined to hit 24 home runs those two seasons. Marcell was fast-tracked through the Marlins system after leading the Florida State League in home runs, RBIs, runs scored and total bases in 2012.
The Big Bear, as he refers to himself on Instagram, was promoted to Double-A in early April 2013, but the Marlins quickly called on him following an injury to Stanton. Marcell made his big-league debut on April 30, 2013 against the Mets and promptly recorded his first-major league hit. Once Stanton returned, Marcell was shifted to centerfield, but a thumb injury ended his season in July.
On Sept. 11, 2014, Marcell made Marlins history by tying a franchise record with a home run in four straight games. An up-and-down season between Miami and Triple-A had teams calling for Marcell's services in 2015, but the Marlins weren't interested and Marcell has been making the decision look like a good one ever since.
Check out some photos of Marcell here.
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