The career path for power-hitting outfielder Marcell Ozuna took a strange turn as the Miami Marlins demoted him to Double-A Jacksonville alongside fellow prospect Derek Dietrich in a move that pushed Jake Marisnick and Christian Yelich to the big league club. Ozuna won't make the immediate transition to Jacksonville as he's staying in Miami to see a specialist who will look after a small thumb injury he suffered on Monday's game where he made a diving catch of a Michael Cuddyer liner.
Ozuna's sudden call-up back in late April faced a fair amount of criticism because of the relative inexperience of the young slugger. That notion was backed up by Ozuna's lack of playing time at the Double/Triple A level because he was called up nearly two weeks after his initial debut with Jacksonville.
When you take a glance at Ozuna's numbers from his short time with Miami, they don't look that bad besides a few major areas of concern. Perhaps it could be blamed toward his inexperience against more defined pitcher but Ozuna had an abysmal 57/13 K/BB which is actually pretty average when you look at his past numbers in the minors. Another main contributor to his demotion was his rough cold streak in July where he put up the following split (.162/.219/.265) .
While Ozuna definitely needed more time to work in minors to define his game against some more experienced pitchers, it's puzzling to see him replaced by some of his former Jacksonville Suns teammates. The risk/reward of swapping these three players between the minors and majors could bring some positive results (i.e Jose Fernandez) but it's still somewhat confusing to take that risk when the development of the farm system means more than the current iteration of the big league club.
That act of creating some buzz for an otherwise struggling organization is necessary but there's still a huge chance that that risk could be detrimental to the future of your franchise. The Marlins are basically resting the next five to ten years of their future on the shoulders of Ozuna, Marisnick, Yelich, Fernandez, etc, so it's absolutely crucial to handle their development in the best possible way. While that way could be through early call-ups to the big league organization, the risk of bringing these players up so early could absolutely outweigh that thrill of seeing these young prospects debut in the Major Leagues.
Ozuna or Derek Dietrich could continue to flourish and develop in the minor league system with Jacksonville or New Orleans Zephyrs but there could be some drawback after their sudden demotion. While it probably won't be the sexiest move to make, Ozuna should stay away from the big league club for the foreseeable future to continue to work on those traits (power, speed and defense) that makes him so intriguing and valuable to the overall future of the Marlins franchise.