Jose Osuna Crushes Baseballs And Should Start More Often
Rookie Jose Osuna has done all he can to earn more starts at the corner outfield positions
After a great Spring Training, Jose Osuna started the season at Triple-A Indianapolis. In fact, Osuna was the final cut of the spring for the Pittsburgh Pirates. His stay at Triple-A would be short lived, though.
When Starling Marte was suspended just 13 games into the season Osuna was called up from Triple-A. Since his promotion to the Major Leagues the 24-year old Osuna has done nothing but hit. Due to this, he has earned more playing time.
Creating playing time for Jose Osuna would not be difficult. Neither right fielder Gregory Polanco nor left fielder Adam Frazier are having seasons so strong that they can not be removed from the lineup. This would make it very easy for Osuna to start additional starts in the outfield.
In 124 plate appearances this season Jose Osuna owns a .306 on-base percentage and just a 4.8 walk percentage. What has made Osuna so successful is that he consistently makes contact and has hit for a ton of power.
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His 14.5 percent strikeout rate is well below the league average of 20.0 percent, and this is a big reason why he owns an 82.2 percent contact rate. Not only is Osuna making a lot of contact, he is making good contact. He owns a 27.6 percent hard contact rate and a 22.4 percent line drive rate this season.
Jose Osuna’s 88.5 miles per hour exit velocity is also higher than league average. This exit velocity is the second highest on the Pirate roster behind Josh Bell, and it is a big reason why Jose Osuna has been an extra base machine in 2017.
Jose Osuna has 30 hits in 116 at-bats this season. 15 of his hits, so literally half, have gone for extra bases. He has hit 8 doubles, 5 home runs, and 2 triples. This has led to Osuna owning a .233 ISO and a slugging percentage of .491.
His .336 wOBA and 108 wRC+ are both above the league averages of .320 and 100. So far in his rookie season, Jose Osuna has been an above league average hitter in every way measurable outside of his on-base skills. However, his consistent contact rate and the power he hits for help to make up for his low walk rate.
Osuna brings much more power to the table than Adam Frazier does. In fact, Frazier is a poor fielding singles hitter that does not draw many walks. This makes him nothing short of a bench player.
As for Gregory Polanco, he has the potential to be a very good everyday player. He proved this the past two seasons. However, right now, Jose Osuna is a better option than Polanco.
There is zero reason for Jose Osuna to not be playing on an everyday basis at the moment. Throughout his minor league career, all Osuna did was hit and as he has gotten older his power has started to develop. At just 24-years old, there is still room for growth with Osuna and he could be a big part of the Pirates’ future even if it is just as a bench bat.
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If not for Josh Bell, Jose Osuna would be the clear cut front runner for Pirate rookie of the year through the first 3 months of the season. He has done more than enough to earn the right to play everyday, especially while Starling Marte is still suspended. It is time for the Pirates to truly see what they have in Jose Osuna.