Prospect Q&A: Blue Jays No. 2 Prospect Roberto Osuna — Does He Begin ’13 at Class A Lansing?
Antonio Osuna spent 11 seasons pitching in the Majors, and yet his baseball-reference.com bio says only this:
Antonio Osuna is the uncle of Roberto Osuna, who was considered one of the top international prospects in the summer of 2011, signing for $1.5 million.
…is the nephew of former major leaguer Antonio Osuna. Roberto made his minor league debut at age 15 with the 2011 Mexico City Red Devils. Used on a limited basis, he was 0-1 with a 5.49 ERA, 25 hits, 11 walks and 12 strikeouts in 19 2/3 IP over 13 games for the Red Devils through July 27. Timed in the mid-90s, he was rated as the fourth-best international prospect by Baseball America in the summer of 2011. In late July, Osuna said that he would be signing with the Toronto Blue Jays, who had missed out on 2010′s top Mexican amateur prospect, Luis Heredia. A deal was not finalized until late September, when Toronto and Osuna agreed on a contract worth $1.5 million; only Heredia had gotten a bigger deal as a Mexican amateur. He only got $375,000 of his signing bonus, as the Red Devils got the remainder.
That should put into perspective how much potential the younger Osuna has, and take care of much of the background you need for the following Q&A. Here are a two more facts:
- Osuna excelled as a 17-year-old at Rookie-level Bluefield and Class A Short-Season Vancouver in 2012 (stats here)
- Osuna will be 18 years old for the entirety of the 2013 season
Onto the interview: I caught up with the Spanish-speaking Osuna this morning. Thanks to Bluefield pitching coach Antonio Caceres for interpreting on the call.
Osuna on how Spring Training is going: “Everything is going well, just working hard to get ready for the season.”
On what he’s working on right now: “The first thing is getting in good shape and working on all the things I need to work on to become a better pitcher. I am 218 pounds now. I used to be 230-something. I feel much better. I think I’m in better shape than I was last year.
On his interactions with Major Leaguers like Jose Reyes and coaches: “It’s great to see those guys work out and throw here. I’m just focusing on myself so that I’m ready for the opportunity to go to the big leagues one day. Dane Johnson and Antonio [Caceres] have helped me make the transition to pro baseball last year and the kind of the success I had last year.”
On what he is working on now with Johnson and Caceres: “I’m just sharpening my pitches. I’m trying to make sure my I’m repeating my mechanics because I’ll be pitching at a higher level this year.”
On adding a new pitch to his fastball-slider-changeup repertoire: “I learned a curveball in the offseason, and it’s been a really good pitch for me so far. I think it’s never a bad thing to have a fourth pitch. I’ll need it wherever I’m going.”
On his mentality on the mound: “I focus and concentrate and try to read the hitter and what they’re thinking.”
On his relationship with his uncle Antonio: “I don’t have a lot of communication of him. My dad has been helping me — he pitched in the Mexican League for a long time too.”
On his relationship with the Pirates’ Luis Heredia, his fellow countryman: “We have a good relationship. We talk all the time. We keep in touch and see each other very often.”
On whom he models himself after: “I am trying to be different, try to be myself, try to be as good as I can be.”
On how many innings he’d like to compile after racking up 45 in 2012: “The main thing is to stay healthy, and whatever innings they need me to throw, I’ll do.”
On what team he hopes to break camp with: “I’m trying to get ready for whatever team they send me to. I don’t have a league in particular.”
On the most difficult hitter he’s faced in the Minors thus far: “The most difficult? No one has been difficult. So far I haven’t had any trouble with any guys at all.