Batting Cleanup: Marcell Ozuna, designated hitter
Let’s do it. Let’s pretend that commissioner Rob Manfred was thinking about what’s best for the league and not what’s best for the owner’s leverage in upcoming Collective Bargaining negotiations. If he was looking out for the sport, he would institute the universal DH immediately. Even without making any big additions, the Giants would be well situated to handle the change with Wilmer Flores and Darin Ruf already on the roster, but neither are close to the caliber of hitter that Marcell Ozuna is.
The Giants are reportedly interested in Ozuna if the league adopts the universal designated hitter, and it’s easy to see why. In nearly 1000 career games, the outfielder has blasted 166 home runs and posted an .801 OPS. While injuries have hampered him defensively in recent years, he has the bat to be a strong DH well into his thirties.
Ozuna was one of the best players in baseball this season. Serving as Atlanta’s primary designated hitter (although he played 19 games in left field and 2 games in right as well), he led the league in home runs (18), runs batted in (56), and total bases (145). He finished sixth in the National League Most Valuable Player award voting. At 30-years old, he would be the perfect fit in the Giants lineup.
With Yaz, Solano, and Belt in front of him, the odds are Ozuna is going to be coming to the plate quite a bit with runners on base or in scoring position. An ideal position for a premium power hitter. Even after the first inning, he has the kind of bat that could always transform a game. His home run power with the on-base machines in front of him would be a lethal combination for opposing pitching staffs.