Blue Jays’ Roberto Osuna needs to trust fastball again

TORONTO, ON - JULY 29: Roberto Osuna
TORONTO, ON - JULY 29: Roberto Osuna /

Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna statistically has had the worst season of his young career in 2017 blowing 10 saves while faltering in the second-half.

Roberto Osuna has had a trying season, to say the least, the 22-year old has faced adversity on and off the field after going public about his mental well-being and some of the difficulties he was experiencing off the field.

This coupled with his first real taste of failure in three seasons has really tested the hurler’s mettle. Somewhere in the middle of it all, Osuna lost faith in his bread and butter pitch, trusting his fastball less and less as the season wore on.

In 2015 Osuna threw his fastball 72.1% of the time, it dropped a little in 2016 to 66.5%, however, this season the closer only relied on the heater 47.1% of the time. This is a huge drop from season’s past. In place of the fastball, Osuna has experimented with the cutter this season throwing it 25.7 % compared to only 4.1% in 2016.

Osuna’s stat line is essentially the tale of two seasons after a slow start out of the gate he pitched his way onto the American League All-Star team finishing the first half with a 2.06 earned run average and 22 saves. The second half was not very kind “Osuana Matata” as his earned run average spiked to 5.76 with 14 saves.

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Opposition hitters in the first half batted .177 compared to .245 in the second half of the 2017 campaign versus him. The Blue Jays have also had a revolving door behind the dish at points during the season with the Russell Martin injury and the inability for the second string catcher to prove worthy of the job.

This season 6 catchers have caught Osuna from Martin, Raffy Lopez, Mike Ohlman, Luke Maile, Miguel Montero and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. This may contribute to some inconsistent pitch selections if the bench isn’t calling the shots.

Through his inconsistencies this season Osuna has actually surrendered the fewest homers of any of his seasons in the majors. He has only been victimized 3 times in 2017 compared to 9 last year and 7 in 2015.

Next: Blue Jays: Donaldson is the key to the short term future

Regardless of who is catching or any other extenuating issues Roberto Osuna unequivocally must rely upon and trust his 95 mph heater if he is going to be the lights out closer we all have grown to love.