Roberto Osuna: The oldest 20-year old in Blue Jays history


The Toronto Blue Jays are dripping with star power. As if Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin weren’t enough, the Blue Jays have added perennial All Stars in Troy Tulowitzki and David Price. These are names known by even the most casual of baseball fans. Names associated with dominance, but just as important, names associated with certainty. Roberto Osuna‘s name belongs on the list.

Osuna has recorded nine saves in the month of August, bringing his streak to 15 straight saves without a blown attempt. While many rookies show flashes, it’s extremely rare to see the poise and polish that Osuna possesses, especially at just 20 years old. Despite planting himself firmly in the middle of the AL Rookie of the Year conversation and recently getting a vote of confidence from Jon Morosi, I’m still not sure that we’re appreciating the magnitude of what we’re seeing.

I’m of the belief that elite relief pitchers will often go underrated or unnoticed because that’s the absolute nature of their job: going unnoticed. When Bautista steps to the plate and impacts a game, everyone notices. Home runs are replayed twelve times the next morning and talked about throughout the length of the broadcast. Stolen bases and sliding triples advance and change the game, but in Osuna’s role as the Blue Jays closer, his job is to keep everything the same for three short outs.

This isn’t about Rookie of the Year cases, and it’s not sour grapes over the American market waking up late to the Osuna show. Truthfully, neither matter. Instead, this is about recognizing a young player whose ceiling may exceed anyone’s in this organization. His steady manner, consistent success and quiet persona have caused us to expect the best and nod in approval when it happens, but frankly, we shouldn’t stop being amazed.

Toronto’s comeback win over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday was capped off by Osuna striking out Adrian Beltre, one of this generation’s greatest hitters. On top of that, strike three came on a shoulder-high fastball that said “I’d like to see you try”. From a 20 year old.

Since the calendar turned to August and the Blue Jays punched the gas, Osuna has recorded 0.87 ERA, allowing just one run in 10 appearances. There will be a real conversation this offseason regarding Osuna’s future projection, either as a closer or starter. Whichever route is chosen, my only wish is that the Blue Jays commit to it fully. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that Osuna is a newborn in MLB years, and has a career ceiling that’s quickly becoming awe-inspiring.

Next: Blue Jays September call ups may not be flashy

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