Results tagged ‘ Lansing Lugnuts ’
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.”
Prospect Q&A: Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino on Being Traded, Turning Down WBC Team Italy, Hitting off Noah Syndergaard
Justin Nicolino completed his first bullpen session this morning. Excellent news, right Marlins fans?
Ready for even better news? Nicolino’s month-old throwing program is to get ready for the 2013 Minor League season, not the World Baseball Classic. More on that later. First, some background: Nicolino (@J_Nicolino22) was the best prospect in that 10-player, mid-November trade that sent All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes from Miami to Toronto. (I wrote here why I thought the Jays won the deal, despite Nicolino’s inclusion.) Now the Marlins’ No. 4 prospect (and baseball’s No. 86 overall), the 21-year-old left-hander will likely begin April at Class A Advanced Jupiter.
I caught up with Nicolino, who started throwing Dec. 16 and is working out with Cardinals farmhand Joe Cuda, this afternoon from his home in Palm Harbor. (He moved from Orlando to the Clearwater-Dunedin area when he was still in Toronto’s system but has relocated again.). Enjoy our chat.
Me: Let’s start with the newsiest item. You were asked to pitch for Team Italy in the WBC but declined?
Nicolino: Yeah, I got that phone call this past Sunday. I got a call from the pitching coach and he asked me if I would want to pitch for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. They asked me if I wanted come out and do that. For me, it was an honor. To get called and be given an opportunity to pitch, I think for anyone, it’s an honor. When I talked to ‘em, I just said that with the trade and everything that’s happened this offseason, I wanted to get down [to Florida] and get used to the way the Marlins did everything. That way, I can go into Spring Training knowing [how the Marlins do things]. I didn’t want to go play for Team Italy and not know anything about the Marlins, or the Marlins not knowing anything about me firsthand. I told [Team Italy], ‘Maybe down the road, call back and it might be different.’
Me: Obviously, you’re an American-born Floridian, so would it have been weird to pitch for bella Italia and against Team USA?
Nicolino: Yeah, definitely. Being an American and having Team USA — that was the funny thing that came up in my conversation with my agent. A couple years down the road, whenever I get that phone call back, ‘What would you want to do: Team USA or Team Italy?’ At that point, four years down the road who’s to say what I’d do and who’d I pitch for.
Me: Just out of curiosity, where does your Italian heritage come from?