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Cody’s Top 20 Twins Prospects: 11-15

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 01:29 PM
Not all organizations have prospect depth that stretches outside of their top-10 prospects. The Twins have multiple names on this list th...

Could Dobnak be an All Star?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:27 PM
 Could Dobnak be an all star? With this terrific infield, I believe he could be. When Donaldson was in the line up Dobnak shine...

Who’s the Top Twins Prospect? Alex Kirilloff vs. Royce Lewis

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 12:25 PM
Many teams would be ecstatic to have the likes of Alex Kirilloff and Royce Lewis headlining their farm system. For Twins fans, a debate c...

Is Cruz a MUST signing? And what if he doesn't fit?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:22 PM
Let me state I love Cruz and want him back if possible. I not only believe he brings class, experience, knowledge and leadership to the t...

FA Value Shopping

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:03 AM
Just for fun-here is 1 player at each position that might be worth the money and my contract estimates:   C- Sandy Leon 1 year/1.5 m...


Let's Think About Marcell Ozuna

Posted by Tyy1117 , 13 January 2021 · 785 views

ozuna free agent offseason
With Nelson Cruz reaching free agency, the Twins need to add a impact bat this offseason in order to seriously contend in 2021. The most talked about, and most likely outcome to that problem is that the Twins bring back Nelson Cruz on a one or two year deal with the hopes that Nellie continues to age like a fine wine, rather than most 40 year old baseball players. However, it is a rather big concern that he does fall off the metaphorical cliff in 2021, and almost a certainty that by 2022 he will only be a shell of his former self at the plate.

It is the height of this competitive window for the Minnesota Twins, and the risk of depending on a 40 year old to hold back major signs of regression, is just too much. Last year saw Cruz's exit velocity drip from 93.7 in 2019 to 91.6. Not only was the average exit velocity lower, but so was the much more telling, max exit velocity. In both 2018 and 2019 Cruz's max exit velocity was 117.0. In 2020, that fell to 114.4. Cruz also benefited from extraordinarily high BABIP during his time in Minnesota (.351 and .360). Nelson Cruz has a career average BABIP of .309 which is already above average (BABIP on average is .300, and only deviates by luck for hitters). This suggests that Cruz was extremely lucky at the plate in Minnesota, and his rate stats have ought to fall. Nelson Cruz seems primed for a nosedive if not this year, then next year for sure.

So what's the alternative? $18 Million a year for 4 years for one Marcell Ozuna.

Ozuna is coming off a blazing hot 179 WRC+ for the NL runner-up Atlanta Braves. Ozuna is 10 years younger than Cruz, and thus could be seen being a potent bat in the Twins line-up for the next 4 years. $18 million, is a lot, but it's only a couple million more than Cruz is rumored to get. Could locking down the DH for the next 4 years create a potential log jam of poor fielding, slugging hitters? Sure, but when is too much hitting depth ever a bad thing? Never.

Ozuna had a breakout in 2020, and there is no reason to expect him to uphold a 179 WRC+, so let's take a look at other players that have had a breakout season and their regression the following year. Take Max Kepler's 2019 breakout, 121 WRC+ and 123 OPS+. If we use the ever so simple Marcel projection system, which weights the player's 3 most recent seasons and weights them as such: 1*3rd most recent season + 2*2nd most recent season + 3*most recent season. Take that, divide by 6 and you have the projected number (This system is the MOST basic projection system and named "marcel the monkey" because it's so easy a monkey could do it, but as we will see it works).

Max Kepler 2017: 95 OPS+ 94 WRC+
Max Kepler 2018: 97 OPS+ 98 WRC+
Max Kepler 2019: 123 OPS+ 121 WRC+ (breakout)

Marcel the Monkey's back of the napkin math projection for 2020: 109.66 OPS+ 108.83 WRC+
Max Kepler's actual 2020: 108 OPS+ 107 WRC+

Marcel almost got it dead on, sure this is only one case so let's look at Cuddyer's 2006 too.

Michael Cuddyer 2004: 102 WRC+
Michael Cuddyer 2005: 98 WRC+
Michael Cuddyer 2006: 123 WRC+ (breakout)

Marcel's Cuddyer prediction for 2007: 111.16 WRC+
Michael Cuddyer's 2007: 111 WRC+

Again, Marcel is dead on. So, let's let Marcel predict Marcell's 2021.

Marcell Ozuna 2018: 107 WRC+
Marcell Ozuna 2019: 109 WRC+
Marcell Ozuna 2020: 179 WRC+

Marcel's Marcell Ozuna 2021: 143.66 WRC+

Marcel says that Marcell will have an outstanding 2021 and be in the top 10 hitters in baseball. Other, more sophisticated projections suggest Ozuna will regress a bit further than Marcel says, perhaps to 125 WRC+. However that is still an elite hitter that should be a monster for years to come wherever he lands, hopefully in Minnesota.

I'm leaning more and more to the idea that the Twins cannot depend on a 40-year old slugger (as good as he's been and as much as I admire him) who could fall off a cliff in 2021.

Ozuna is simply a very good hitter.There may be SOME regression, but that guy will hit.

I like the option of a Trevor Story.He's a very good hitter as well and brings elite defense to the SS position.

I could get on board with a Luis Castillo/ and Moose or Castellanos trade.  

The Twins have a plethora of options.