Jays On Verge Of Signing Roberto Osuna

The 16 year old nephew of former Major League pitcher Antonio Osuna – Roberto Osuna – has said this week that he is ready to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays.

For those of you who don’t remember, Antonio Osuna was a journeyman reliever who played for the Dodgers, White Sox, Yankees, Padres and Nats.  The last we saw him he was out-of-shape and trying to make a go of it in the Mexican League.  He didn’t last long.

Antonio Osuna in Mexico

Roberto Osuna, unlike his Uncle, has actually made a go of it in the Mexican League – at 15 years old!  For those who don’t know, the Mexican League is more or less at a AAA level, full of veteran former Major League players and very biased towards hitters due to the high elevation of most of the ballparks (much like the Pacific Coast League).

Scouts were first on the younger Osuna in March as he played for the Mexico City Diablos Rojos against the Oaxaca Guerreros.    In 2 innings the 6’0″ 200-pound Osuna struck out 3 and pumped his fastball as high as 94mph.  That set tongues wagging.

Since then Osuna has posted more than respectable numbers in the Mexican League… at age 15:

Osuna hasn’t pitched since June 9th in order to preserve his pre-signing value.  As an international free agent, Osuna is eligible to sign with whichever Major League team he chooses.  He is expected to sign for $4 million.  That said,  Osuna will receive only 25% of his signing bonus with the other 75% going to the Diablos Rojos since the team owns his rights.

Roberto Osuna is built like his Uncle:  like a brick shithouse.  He’s got a thick lower body and a barrel chest and throws from a 3/4 arm slot.  He hides the ball well and throws free and easy.  His fastball has arm-side movement due to his 3/4 slot.   He projects to throw with greater velocity as he matures because – it bears repeating – he is only 16 years old.  Currently he has difficulty maintaining a consistent arm slot but he has time to correct that.  Lots and lots of time.

 

His curveball has a slurvy movement to it at times and ranges between 72 and 77mph. He struggles to stay on top of the pitch, but when he does it has an 11-5 drop to it.  He is “deliberate” with the pitch, that is to say that he telegraphs the pitch and tips his hand so that the hitter knows it is coming.  At 72mph it is an ineffective pitch for him; at 77mph it is a swing-and-miss pitch.

Osuna’s change hovers around the 80mph mark with heavy fade, almost a splitter-like action to it.  He tips it each time he throws it but fumbling with the grip so hitters are aware it is coming.  This is not an issue considering his youth.  The pitch has impressive depth and movement to it.

Roberto made the remarks that he was leaning towards signing with the Blue Jays and becoming an Azulejo after working out at the Bobby Mattick Complex in Florda last week, the spring home of the Jays. After passing the team’s physical on Thursday,  Osuna enrolled in English classes and is due to report to the Jays’ Gulf Coast affiliate on Saturday.  Osuna is ranked fourth by Baseball America’s Ben Badler on his list of international prospects.  Osuna’s nickname is “little canon,” after his Uncle Antonio’s nickname “El Cañon.”

Images courtesy of Vanguardia,  Baseball Mexico, MiLb.com. Scouting reports an amalgamation of Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, Mexican news reports and second-hand accounts.

Update:

The Blue Jays announced today (August 30th, 2011) that the team had signed Osuna to a contract.  Details were not released.  This announcement comes more than month after the news originally broke.

has written for Mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Callum on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram (@callumhughson)

  • ttop

    Did Osuna tell you this persnally? Where is this information coming from? Excited and curious is all, and haven’t seen it anywhere else.

  • http://www.fangraphs.com/not Navin V.

    @ ttop: The link to Vanguardia at the bottom seems to be the source. Not sure why that’s not a bit clearer in the post.

    • Kay

      Yes, again, be a little more careful in your proofing.

  • ttop

    The old “said” link. Right…

  • ike

    the link says something about roberto toronto rookie league dunedin then finishes with toronto. works for me. who knows, maybe time he is 19/20 will be throwing 100?

  • ike

    btw nice find

  • http://www.twitter.com/callumhughson Callum Hughson

    I wonder if the fact that Osuna has been snapping off curves in a triple-A environment at age 15 will have any impact on his health long-term. It will be interesting to see if the Jays limit his curveball use at the GCL. They might want to have him pitch solely with his fastball and change, like they had Rzepczynski do this past Arizona Fall League season.

  • joseph

    he´s not 16 come on he easily looks 18

  • bob

    testing comments 1 2 3

  • http://mopupduty.com matthias

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