Scouting Report Pirates Jose Osuna
When you’re an underpaid prospect writer like myself, you try your best to get the most bang for your buck when prospecting. You stick to a budget. You make some hard decisions, like missing Trevor Story because you simply can’t afford to cover just one top 150 prospect. Some decisions are much easier to make, like high-tailing it down to State Mutual Stadium in Rome, Georgia so you can catch two Pirates prospects who are, in this writer’s opinion, top 50 prospects, the Braves 2012 2nd Round draft pick and an under-the-radar teenaged Pirates prospect who was overshadowed during much of 2012 by his more highly ranked teammates. Today, I present the narrative for that particular teenage prospect, First Baseman Jose Osuna
Braves prospect Alex Wood is on the mound and Jose Osuna settles in to face the young left hander. Osuna settles in, ready for Wood’s offering, unloads on a fastball and drives it over the left field wall for a solo home run. This was the first of three run-scoring hits Osuna collected during the day’s double header. The two other hits were both singles, one bounced over second base while the other was grounded sharply through the 5-6 hole. He even collected a walk when Braves prospect Navery Moore lost the strike zone. Overall, Osuna was 3 for 7 with a home run, 3 RBI’s and a walk.
Physically, Jose Osuna is a solidly built ballplayer. Listed at 6’2’’, 213 Ilbs, Osuna has a strong upper body. While the homerun swing, the first and second clip of the video, is an impressive display of his upper body strength, the third swing in the video, an inside-out swing, is a tremendous example of his hand strength. Off the bat, Osuna looked to have blooped the ball over the infield. However, the right fielder, playing medium depth, was able to make a fairly routine catch of the ball. With a weaker hitter, that ball doesn’t reach the right fielder. Despite his stockiness, Osuna has slightly better than average speed, which is evident on the grounder he tried beating out in the video package (He was safe).
At the plate, Osuna is working with an average hit tool. While he has a solid base and good weight distribution, he doesn’t generate the type of power he should be capable of generating. Right now, I classify his power to be above average. With a little more strength coming from his lower half, a plus power projection is a reasonable expectation. Most power hitters strike out a lot, especially when they are as young and as under-the-radar as Osuna is. Despite struggling mightily with his pitch recognition skills, he isn’t one to swing and miss much since he possesses solid hand/eye coordination skills. His swing is pretty free and easy. The trajectory of the swing could lend itself to a good bit of pop ups, especially when velocity levels are increased as he moves through the minors. He’s a fairly pronounced pull hitter.
So how is this guy flying so far under the radar? For one, first base prospects usually need to show advanced hitting skills in the Sally League because most first baseman lack position flexibility. Another reason was his mediocre first half that resulted in a four home run output. He ended up hitting twelve home runs after the all star break, which was tied for the league lead.
I can count the number of Sally league first base prospects on one hand that I thought passed the advanced hitting skills test. The last one that came through was Astros prospect Jonathan Singleton, and before that, Braves First baseman Freddie Freeman. Both of those hitters had significant hit tools even then. The baseball would explode off their bats. It was easier to believe that those two would be major league first basemen compared to a prospect like Osuna. That doesn’t mean I’m bearish on Osuna. It just means it is tougher to see him being a regular first baseman in the big leagues. He does have a few things working in his favor. Overall, the position is down. 2012 was certainly a weak year offensively for MLB first baseman. It was even worse in the minors. Secondly, he has youth on his side. He’ll be starting High A as a twenty year old, which puts his ETA to the majors about three to four years away.