Jose Osuna was signed by Rene Gayo in December of 2009 and was highly a highly ranked international player with the likes of Polanco, Hanson, and Garcia before struggling once he hit A+ Bradenton. In 2013, his home run production cut in half along with a major drop in doubles.
In 2014, Osuna adjusted to the level to rebound with a .296/.347/.458 line and a slight uptick in home runs. The problem now was that Osuna fell in the depth charts and was beginning to struggle with playing time at first base. He split time between first base and DH in 2014, and he was deserving of a promotion to Double-A at the beginning of the season; however, he was blocked by Josh Bell’s move to first in the offseason at Altoona.
Osuna quickly learned to play the outfield as the organization saw the need to get him reps at another position to keep his bat in the lineup. Early reports out of Bradenton were that he was struggling with playing right field, but he made great improvements in the outfield as the season wore on. He displayed a great arm, and his route running improved as the season progressed. He was promoted to Altoona at the end of May and made his Double-A debut on May 29th in Altoona.
In Altoona, Osuna has been regularly playing left field, as Stetson Allie is still seeing time as the everyday right fielder. When he was promoted, he took the world by storm. In his first six games, Osuna went 11-for-23 with three doubles and a 1.109 OPS. Even when he got out, he was squaring up the ball and hitting line drives.
From the first day of his promotion, Osuna has looked solid in left field, taking good routes on fly balls and displaying an extremely strong arm. Osuna expressed that it has been difficult, though, to learn all of the different positions recently.
“During the early part of the year in Bradenton, I played a lot of right field,” Osuna expressed. “I just always want to do the best I can. It is hard playing right field, then first base, then playing left. I have to work hard to be good at any position I play.”
Since his early hot start at the Double-A level, Osuna has cooled off some, but he has still been a rock in left field for the Curve. He is currently hitting .306 with a .769 OPS at the Double-A level. He has hit two home runs in Double-A this year; however, he only has two doubles since he began his time at Double-A with three doubles in three straight games.
Osuna’s troubles come in the power numbers. With his size and body type, Osuna needs to be driving the ball in the gaps for extra base hits and eventually home runs. During his first year of professional baseball, he weighed 190 pounds. He currently weighs 230 pounds, and he looks every pound of it. Jose Osuna is a big man, and the weight looks to be all muscle. He has the look and feel of a power hitter who is capable of hitting many home runs. When he isn’t hitting the ball out or at least driving gaps, he loses a lot of value.
Osuna likes to sit fastball then make adjustments when pitchers begin feeding him more breaking pitches. Excluding his first six games in Altoona, he has an ISO of .138 and an OPS of .646. It really seems as though it took a few games for pitchers to learn the scouting report on Osuna and they began feeding him breaking balls, which he has struggled with.
The potential is definitely there. Osuna has the opportunity for playing time in Altoona in the outfield, and he could move back to first base next season after a probable promotion to Triple-A for Josh Bell. It will be interesting to see where the Pirates move Osuna and Stetson Allie around this season, with both playing first base last year. My guess would be that Osuna may make the move back to first after this season and stay at Double-A Altoona. With the flexibility to play outfield and first base, though, it only adds to his value.
His goal should be to hit 15 home runs and 30 doubles at the Double-A level (similar to 2012 at West Virginia). Osuna feels that the power will come.
“The power is coming in a couple of years,” he said. “Maybe I will hit 10-15 homers… maybe I won’t. I just always try to square up the ball and hit it hard because I think the power is coming.”