Tuesday, February 12, 2013

#11 Pirates Prospect - Jose Osuna

Buried Treasure Top 30 Prospects
#11 - Jose Osuna

Measurables: 6'2, 213
Bats: R, Throws: R
Position: 1B
Acquired: IFA, 2009
Bonus: $250,000
DOB: 12/12/1992
Buried Treasure 2012 Top 20: Not Ranked


In 2010, Jose Osuna signed for $250,000 out of Venezuela.  That summer, he played in his native Venezuela, in the VSL.  In 64 games, he received 234 plate appearances and posted a .251/.325/.465 triple slash.  Osuna hit for very good power, smacking 10 home runs. He also displayed solid plate discipline for a young Latin American, walking over 8% of the time and striking out under 15% time. All that came as a 17 year-old.


Osuna performed well enough in 2010 that the Pirates promoted him stateside to play in the Gulf Coast League for the 2011 season.  Osuna responded with a terrific season, taking 203 plate appearances in 48 games.  In those 48 games, he put up a .331/.400/.511 line with 18 walks and only 21 strikeouts.  He did all that months before his 18th birthday.

The only downside was Osuna, who had been signed as an outfielder, began to show signs he might have to move off the position.  For an 18 year-old, he already had a fairly filled out frame and at 6'2, 200 plus pounds, Osuna saw himself taking defensive repetitions at first base.  Overall, Osuna's season was tremendous and he put himself in a position to break out in 2012.


Osuna started the season for the West Virginia Power, skipping short season ball entirely except for the 2 games he played at the end of the season in 2011.  While Osuna didn't enjoy quite the breakout season fellow teammates Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco had, the young Venezuelan did have another good year, building upon his 2011 campaign.  He played the entire year for the Power and played the entire year at first base defensively.

For the Power, Osuna played 126 games.  In those games, he took 524 plate appearances and posted a .280/.324/.454 line.  Osuna's plate discipline suffered a bit, although that's to be expected considering the jump from the Gulf Coast League to the South Atlantic League and considering Osuna's extreme youth. In fact, Osuna was the youngest player on the Power, younger than Hanson.  He didn't turn 20 until this past December.  On the issue of plate discipline, Osuna still showed a low strikeout rate, only failing to put the ball in play 82 times.  That's a 15.6% strikeout rate.  However, Osuna also stopped walking at a high rate, earning only 31 free passes, a walk rate of 5.9%. 

Osuna's locked into a defensive position without much value.  His bat will need to carry him and he doesn't thrill scouts.  His body isn't particularly projectable.  That said, he .280 and 16 homeruns in a season at Low-A that he completed 5 months before his 20th birthday.  He's young and has a good statistical profile so far and there's reason to believe he can hit enough to be a competent regular at first base and perhaps even a bit more. Simply put, right now it's hard to discount his youth and production and as a result, he deserves to be put in the "prospect to watch" conversation moving forward.