Atlanta Braves designated hitter Marcell Ozuna remained unfazed despite starting off the 2023 MLB season on a sour note.
When Ozuna batted just .091 in April, many Braves fans wanted him out of the lineup. However, he displayed exemplary fortitude as the season wore on. Ozuna capped off his 11th MLB season with a .274 batting average, 40 home runs, and 100 RBIs.
Those 40 home runs represented a career-high. His 100 RBIs were the second-most in his career since he recorded 127 RBIs with the Miami Marlins in 2017. It only seemed fitting Ozuna end the Braves' regular season with two home runs against the Washington Nationals on Sunday. Ozuna helped the Braves record 307 home runs on the season – tied with the 2019 Minnesota Twins for the most in league history.
Five months ago, many of us thought the #Braves would or should release him. Resurgent Marcell Ozuna finished the regular season w/ 40 HR, 100 RBIs & .904 OPS for a record-breaking 104-win team that’s fired up for postseason to begin. https://t.co/DOcntLwzGu
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) October 2, 2023
Marcell Ozuna said his confidence in himself ultimately made the difference, per The Athletic's David O'Brien.
“People didn't believe in me like the way that I believe in myself, and God gave me the opportunity to be in this spot where I am right now. So, I say thanks to everyone who believes, and everyone who doesn't believe – I'm here for everything,” Marcell Ozuna said.
Braves manager Brian Snitker raved about Ozuna's incredible turnaround this season. Snitker said it made him respect “The Big Bear” more.
Braves management never entertained the thought of releasing Ozuna despite his sluggish start. They said his strong finish in 2022 and his excellent showing in spring training convinced them he will get over the hump. To their astonishment, he did.
Marcell Ozuna helped the Braves become the first team in MLB history to have four players with at least 35 home runs. Expect Brian Snitker's team to light up the scoreboard now that October baseball is upon us.