Too often, as analytics have carved out an increasingly important place in player valuation and game-planning, the players themselves and their leadership have sounded as resistant to this revolution as Orrin Price (Morton Downey Jr.) was to using computers in “Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation.”
The smarter players, and smarter agents, rather than lament the changes, have learned to speak the teams’ language. Consider Marcell Ozuna, arguably the top free-agent outfielder available, whose representative Melvin Roman is using analytics to highlight Ozuna’s assets and provide context to his perceived liabilities. Here’s betting it helps.
Ozuna, who just turned 29 this month, put up his apparent career season with the Marlins in 2017, slashing .312/.376/.548 with 37 homers in 159 games. Miami traded Ozuna to the Cardinals the subsequent winter, and when it comes to back-of-the-baseball-card numbers, Ozuna has produced perfectly fine — a collective .263/.327/.452 line, with 52 homers in 278 games — without approaching his 2017 peak.
Yet no team worth its salt relies solely on those surface numbers, and the same should go for…