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June 20, 2011

BP Unfiltered

J2 Spotlight: Roberto Osuna, A Seven-Figure Talent

by Jason Parks

With the July 2nd window quickly approaching, I wanted to post a scouting report on a seven-figure talent that I've had the privilege of watching in person. Power arms are always in high-demand, and one of the best arms in the market belongs to 15 year-old Mexican right-hander Roberto Osuna. Based on what I've seen, Osuna should be a high-priority target for several teams, although the process of signing Mexican talent can be a bit more complicated (expensive) because of the relationship between the player and the Mexican League team that owns their rights.

Name: Roberto Osuna
DOB: 7/2/95
Birthplace: Sinaloa, Mexico
HT/WT: 6'1''/200+
Position: RHP

Body: Large frame with immature body (not toned); thick lower-half; big barreled chest;
Arm slot: 3/4
Delivery: Smooth with easy and fluid arm action; very quick arm; keeps a good line to plate; high front-side helps hide ball; uses legs well.

Fastball: 88-90 (T92). Some movement to the arm-side. Room for more velocity because of easy arm action and clean delivery. Elevated in the zone when he missed. Wasn't able to maintain good angle on the pitch because of inconsistent arm-slot. Projects to be a plus pitch, with enough velocity at present to dream of an even higher grade.

Curveball/Slurve: 72-77. Pitch got slurvy at times, but had some feel for it and threw the pitch off the fastball (on the FB plane). Was a little deliberate in delivery and didn't stay on top of it. Was too slow at 72 mph and had more fade than break. Swing and miss offering at 76-77 mph with good two-plane movement and 11/5 shape. Projects to be solid-average to plus pitch, but big separation between present/future.

Changeup: 76-80 mph: Splitter-like movement on the heavily pronated changeup. He tipped it by fanning his glove pre-pitch. Pitch features some late-drop, but like the slurve, Osuna slowed down on delivery and telegraphed the offering. I spoke with a few hitters after the game and they knew what he was throwing and picked up the ball early. Not a concern giving his age/experience. The movement of the pitch itself was impressive, as the depth and movement showed promise.

Summation: Not a fan of the body, but the arm is very fast and his delivery smooth for the size. The arm has a good breaking ball in it; can currently spin a good curve but struggled to stay over it and it got slurvy. Changeup had some vertical movement but he tipped it by adjusting the grip in the glove before the delivery. Was slower/more deliberate to plate on secondary stuff. Good feel for the mound and repeated mechanics pretty well for age. I like the arm quite a bit, but not the body. Could develop power arsenal. It's not hard to envision a plus (60) FB, 55/60 CB, 50 CH arsenal, with some command and feel for pitching. Seven-figure player.

Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

13 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

A recent report had Osuna's FB up to 94 mph. I didn't see that velocity, but I did see a very quick arm. He worked in the upper 80s and touched as high as 92 when I saw him this spring.

Jun 20, 2011 10:32 AM
 
MichavdB

A 200lbs 15-year old? That's almost more than Colon weighed when he broke in with the Indians!

Jun 20, 2011 11:55 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

He looked heavier than 200 lbs. to me, but baby fat can be deceiving. He could refine the body as he matures, or it could get away from him. It depends on the familial history and his approach to fitness. I assume any team that is willing to pay seven-figures to acquire his services would make sure his body stays on the right course.

Jun 20, 2011 12:26 PM
 
SaberTJ

Jason,

How much of a concern is it that someone whom is 15 years old whose growth plates have yet to fill up is throwing a breaking ball?

IIRC, Will Carroll was all over this in his "Saving the Pitcher."

Jun 20, 2011 12:03 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I can't speak to it with any specific knowledge. I care more about the immature body than the breaking ball being thrown. The body has a chance to be big.

Jun 20, 2011 12:22 PM
 
jmercan

Could you elaborate on why he would be worth a 7 figure bonus? My impression from your report is that you have doubts. Are those fastball numbers and curve/change potentials rare enough that he is worth taking the chance?

Jun 20, 2011 12:30 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I don't like the body at present, but the arm itself was very promising. Osuna could develop into a legit power pitcher, one with a plus FB/CB combo and a CH that could become an average pitch. 15 year-olds with easy arm actions that can already work in the upper-80s and touch higher that also have the ability to spin a quality breaking ball aren't easy to find. His contract with Diablos Rojos makes his price tag more extreme.

Jun 20, 2011 12:40 PM
 
jtanker33

Do you know if BP will be ranking the top July 2 prospects? Can we expect more of these scouting reports? I love these.

Jun 20, 2011 12:57 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I'm not sure. I've seen Osuna in person, so I feel comfortable writing a report on him. I haven;t seen most of the J2 talent available, so everything would be second-hand info. Not sure how comfortable I feel reporting that stuff, especially given the nature of the market.

Jun 20, 2011 13:00 PM
 
dwinning

Does anyone else feel sort of dirty reading scouting reports on 15 year olds?

Jun 21, 2011 08:03 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Are you reading them by candlelight while soaking in the tub? That would be a little awkward.

Jun 21, 2011 08:09 AM
 
ttt

Where would he go if he was eligible for the draft (somehow as a 15-year old)? If he's a seven-figure guy, he has to be at least the beginning of the second round, right?

Jun 21, 2011 09:11 AM
rating: 0
 
mrdannyg

His birthday is exactly July 2nd! Coincidence, I suppose? Now that he is signed, I assume any concerns regarding his age are fleshed out...

Aug 30, 2011 09:17 AM
rating: 0
 
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The Week in Quotes: Ju... (06/20)
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