Osuna’s debut marks the last hurdle he has to face since undergoing Tommy John surgery to address his torn elbow ligament in July of last year. The time he spent on the disabled list may have felt like forever, but after a standard 12-month recovery period Blue Jays fans are surely looking forward to seeing what he can offer the organization post-surgery.
Prior to the surgery, Osuna was quickly rising through the minor league levels and his prospect status was skyrocketing accordingly. The big right-hander from Juan Jose Rios, Mexico has always been a bit ahead of the developmental curve (he pitched against adults as a 16-year-old in the Mexican League before signing with the Jays) but he really put himself on the map with an outstanding season in 2012. That year he posted a 2.27 ERA with 49 strikeouts over 43.2 innings while splitting time between short season Bluefield and Vancouver.
Osuna’s combination of size, stuff, and strong command helped him gain attention as a top 10 prospect in the Blue Jays’ organization (and a top 100 prospect overall according to MLB.com). He began 2013 as an 18-year-old in Class A Lansing, where he was nearly four years younger than the league average age, but the elbow discomfort plagued him the entire time and he hit the disabled list after only eight starts.
Last time we checked in with Osuna, here at Jays Journal, it was March and he had thrown off the mound for the first time. Osuna said himself that everything felt great after that bullpen side session, signifying that he should be right on track to pick up where he left off performance-wise prior to his surgery. Luckily, for Osuna and fans alike, recent successes in Tommy John procedures suggest that there is little to worry about in regards to Osuna losing his stuff. Recent TJ recipient Drew Hutchison is a perfect example of this, as he has come back from his 2012 surgery to contribute to the major league club in a big way this season. While there is a chance Osuna is never the same, that chance is slim and Blue Jays fans should look forward to both him and recent draftee and fellow TJ recipient Jeff Hoffman recovering and making contributions to the major league club within a few years time.