Winter Leagues: The Jose Osuna Highlight Show

This winter has unexpectedly turned into the Jose Osuna highlight show, with long homers and web gems. On Saturday night in Venezuela, he connected on his ninth home run(video at bottom of page), most among all Pirates’ players. He finished the game 2-for-4, driving in two runs. While searching for video of his home run, I found this video(right below) of him making a nice catch in the outfield. Known as a first baseman who plays outfield, Osuna has made a couple highlight reel plays in the outfield this winter, including this game-ending catch. He also has a .928 OPS, which ranks third in the league. This is all coming from the same player who went 3-for-26 last winter, rarely seeing playing time after the first couple weeks.

I mentioned yesterday that Elias Diaz needs to pick it up with bat this winter, as his stats are well off what you would expect from him in this league. He must have got the message, as he went 3-for-4 with a run scored. There have been no complaints about his defense and on Saturday he picked-off a runner at second base. He also got credit for a caught stealing, though it was just a failed attempt to steal home.

Robert Zarate made his first start since signing with the Pirates early last week. He went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and no walks, with six strikeouts. He has a 2.45 ERA this winter in 44 innings, with a .239 BAA and a 1.78 GO/AO ratio. Zarate had some control issues early this winter, but he’s issued just two walks in his last 18 innings.

In the Dominican, Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-4 with a single, keeping his average at .235 this winter. After Gustavo Nunez went 2-for-3 with two runs and a walk on Saturday, raising his average to .243, Rojas now has the second lowest average among all qualified hitters(minimum 132 plate appearances). Nunez and Rojas were the only Pirates to see action on Saturday in the Dominican.

In Australia, Sam Kennelly started all four games this weekend at shortstop. He went 0-for-2 on Sunday, reaching base via hit-by-pitch.

In Puerto Rico, Danny Ortiz went 1-for-2 with a walk, continuing his recent hot streak. He also picked up his fourth outfield assist since signing with the Pirates. Ortiz has a .939 OPS in his last ten games.

In Mexico, Luis Heredia faced three batters, giving up a single, while getting a grounder back to the mound and a strikeout. He threw eight pitches, seven for strikes. Heredia has made 14 appearances, posting a 4.42 ERA over 18.1 innings, with 13 hits, 13 walks and ten strikeouts.

Carlos Munoz went 1-for-2 with two walks. It was a rare productive game for Munoz, who has hit .162 over the last month(before Saturday) with an OPS near the .400 mark.

Here is Osuna’s Home Run.

  • This is very encouraging. I hope the Pirates dont screw it up. At this point with the winter he is having. I would give him a shot at AAA and let Bell continue to work on his game at 1B in practice but put him in the outfield and let him be. Let him learn more about his craft at 1B with Osuna as a backup option who actually knows the position.

  • Osuna is looking great this winter, but no one picked him up as a Rule 5 freebe, nor do I see talk of him being a prospect at first. Just out of curiosity, what are his shortcomings? I assume he’s slow? How is he as a fielder?

    • I wouldn’t say he’s not a prospect at first. I would say he’s currently blocked by Bell. However, on the major league level, both have proven themselves equally.

      If Bell’s fielding woes continue, Osuna, I think, could be waiting in the wings and Josh could be moved to the OF.

  • John,
    I saw this last night and there is another one of him playing in left field that is almost a mirror image of this play. There is also one of Osuna in left field leaping at the wall and reaching over the fence to pull back a HR which was also I believe the final out of the game.

    He is having a hell of a season.

  • On Saturday MLB talking head stated that the owners in the NL and their enormous contracts handed out to pitchers wants their investment protected and will soon be pushing for the DH. I stopped watching the AL when they started the DH. BB is all about $$$ [ and all sports] so now I only attend and watch the Pirates, Steelers, and Pitt, the rest of them can go to, well never mind.

    • I hate the DH!

    • For every pitcher that gets hurt running the bases 100 of them injure their arms or take one off the noggin. The next thing they will want is a designated fielder or have them pitching behind a net

      • Now that you mention it, it would be interesting to see the numbers comparing the number of pitchers injured playing offense vs. the number injured by being hit by a DH’s come-backer. I wonder if it could be argued that facing more pitcher-hitters is actually safer for pitchers than not hitting.

  • Polanco better figure it all out because his replacement is breathing down his neck.

    • I don’t think there is any reason for Polanco to panic. He put himself on 2B via XBH or steal 77 times last year, walked 55 times, kept improving his defense…there is so much to like there. Polanco is a poor man’s Jason Heyward with more speed and less power right now.

      • I agree regarding Polanco – he has all the tools to be the next JHEY. My fear though is that with the signing of Heyward for $184 mil, Gregory Polanco will probably never agree to sign a long term contract that includes the first or first and second years of FA.

        For years we had relatively nothing at 1B and now it seems to be evolving into a position of strength. Osuna started this offensive run in AA and has just gotten better during the Winter. I would love to see him and Bell do well at ST 2016 and beyond.

  • Without these Osuna highlights, where would this offseason be?

    • It has been a light season for winter league participation. It doesn’t help that the league in Colombia has been horrible updating their website and the league in Panama doesn’t even have a website this year. So Osuna has made it a lot more interesting.

      I thought Mexico would be the interesting one with Heredia, Munoz and Ramirez, plus some article fillers, but Ramirez failed miserably, Munoz has been in a tailspin that makes Ramirez’s performance look like Babe Ruth. Heredia isn’t pitching as much as I thought, and all the fillers are gone. Gamache lasted all of three games, but those were three horrible games, directly costing his team two of those games. Felipe Gonzalez and Sebastian Valle signed elsewhere and Eduardo Vera would be playing if he didn’t have Tommy John surgery back in June. So now it’s turned into Munoz going 0-for-3 five times a week and Heredia pitching once a week

  • No Ronny Cedeno as versatile 5th infielder or Daniel McCutchen as cagey end of the rotation battler signings overnight?

  • Poco Miggy!

  • That was quite a home run call.

  • I can’t get enough of watching Osuna pound the ball! He’s sure had a quite impressive winter.

  • You know the way Ozuna has been hitting this fall and did extremely well in AA there isn’t much of a difference in AA to AAA why not let him try to play this spring he is a true 1st baseman and he surely would not be the1st and not the last to skip a league and play in the majors and he helps with a 5th outfielder

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