Blue Jays’ Osuna gets his rightful place in the All-Star game

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 2: Roberto Osuna
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 2: Roberto Osuna /

Roberto Osuna has been named to the AL All-Star team as an injury replacement. The Mexican right-hander has been arguably baseball’s best closer this season, and fortunately he’s being recognized for his dominance, even if it’s a little late.

Roberto Osuna has had one of the finest seasons ever for a Blue Jays closer, and he’s doing it all at the ripe old age of 22 years old. In fact, in being named to the AL All-Star team on Friday, Osuna becomes the youngest Blue Jay to ever receive the honour, a position formerly held by Dave Stieb (22 years, 352 days).

It’s a bit of a shame that it took injury replacements and scheduling conflicts for the starting pitchers named to the team, but nevertheless, Osuna is receiving the honour he likely should have had all along. He’ll join Justin Smoak as the other Blue Jay to be named to the AL Roster.

Across 35 innings pitched, the flame thrower has amassed 22 saves, a 2.06 ERA. a 0.714 WHIP, and 47 strikeouts. He’s only walked three batters all season, given just two home runs, and he’s striking out 12.1 batters per nine innings.

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He’s also in the midst of an incredible run, as he’s been successful in 21 consecutive save opportunities, a franchise record. He’s only allowed three hits in his last 12 outings combined, and has earned 1.7 bWAR already. These are elite numbers, which is why it felt like he was under appreciated with the original All-Star snub, so it’s good to see him making the appearance after all.

It felt especially difficult to ignore when the Blue Jays faced off against the Yankees earlier this week. In the series, Dellin Betances imploded against the Jays, walking four batters, while registering just one out during his outing. Meanwhile, Osuna threw two scoreless frames in the series, allowing just a single hit and striking out three of the seven batters he faced.

This isn’t some sort of conspiracy post or anything, as there are great players left off the team every year. It’s an imperfect system that largely relies on fan voting, so it’s never going to reward everyone who deserves it.

However, at least things worked out the way they should have in the end for the Blue Jays’ closer, as the kid has been absolutely dynamite this year. When you consider that he started the season battling injury and struggling in four of his first six outings, his numbers are even more impressive. He allowed five runs in those first six appearances, and has been borderline untouchable since. Add in the struggles with anxiety that he publicly discussed last month, and it’s hard to believe he’s performed at this level.

The Blue Jays have always known that they’ve got something special in Roberto Osuna, but in 2017 he’s kicked it up yet another notch, adding to an incredible resume for a 22 year old pitcher. Thankfully, he can add “All-Star” to that resume as well, an honour he greatly deserves.

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