It seems the best laid plans for the Blue Jays system is to load up on arms. We see some positional players in our rankings but more than anything we have arms, arms, arms. You can never have enough arms. We have developed some great ones in the past and Roberto Osuna looks to potentially be one of the best of the recent internationals. Alex Anthopoulos and his team have made the international market a priority and the development of Osuna could go a long way towards attracting more IFA’s in the future.
Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospect Roberto Osuna. Credit: MLB Prospect Portal
Name: Roberto Osuna
Date of Birth: 02/07/1995 (19)
Acquired: Signed as an international non-drafted free agent on 08/03/2011 ($1,500,000 USD)
Born: Juan Jose Rios, Sinaloa, Mexico
Height/Weight: 6’2″/230 lbs
Awards and Accomplishments:
- Previously ranked #2 on Jays Journal Top Prospects 2013
- Ranked Blue Jays #5 prospect by FanGraphs
- Ranked Blue Jays #7 prospect by Baseball America
- Pre-2014: Rated #93 Prospect by MLB.com
Stats and Analysis
It seems to be the Blue Jays philosophy to bring all of their younger pitchers along slowly and let them build up their innings slowly to avoid injury. In the case of Roberto Osuna it hasn’t helped too much as he has already undergone the Blue Jays Achilles heel of the dreaded Tommy John surgery. What we did see in his first couple years is a boy pitching in a man’s frame. His already elevated weight could be an issue going forward but what we did see was loads of potential.
As you can see in the chart above, Osuna has a propensity at this point in his career to allow big strikeout and higher than needed walk totals. This is a sure sign of a kid getting by on his stuff alone. He already has a major league caliber fastball and his 12-6 curveball has developed into a very decent secondary pitch that can be thrown for strikes. The team has also been grooming him with a change-up to use as a third pitch in his arsenal and remains completely a work in progress pitch.
As the team keeps moving him up the organizational ladder he has more than held his own against older prospects but did develop a UCL tear that inevitably led to his surgery. He is due to come back some time around July. With only 3 seasons under his belt for a total of 105 innings we definitely will not be seeing Osuna any time soon. It may take up to another year to get his arms strength back. This will also allow the Jays to get on him about his conditioning which may end up being his biggest hurdle to overcome.
Scouting Report and Outlook
Video Credit: Conor Dowley, Bullpen Banter
This is another in a string of intriguing internationals making a mark with the powers that be around baseball. If you take out his last three starts at Lansing before his surgery Osuna was more than holding his own. He is confident and has a good, repeatable delivery. He only turns 19 just before Spring Training so he has lots of time to get in game shape and adapting to the baseball lifestyle. It is safe to say that his fastball could develop into a high 90s pitch. His curve already has scouts taking notice. If he can take command of a decent change-up to go with his other two then a solid number 3 starter or even a 2 could be in his future.
Projected MLB Potential and Arrival: Mid-rotation starter in 2017 or 2018.
Editor’s note: If you didn’t click the link earlier, make sure to check out Charlie Caskey’s profile on Osuna from last year. Charlie was lucky enough to watch him pitch for the Vancouver Canadians in 2012 and witnessed firsthand how dominate he can be when healthy. All of us at Jays Journal are wishing a full recovery for the “little cannon”. -MW