Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Under the Radar Players to Watch in 2020

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PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 07: Jose Osuna #36 of the Pittsburgh Pirates runs in from the outfield during summer workouts at PNC Park on July 7, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 07: Jose Osuna #36 of the Pittsburgh Pirates runs in from the outfield during summer workouts at PNC Park on July 7, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

First Baseman/Outfielder Jose Osuna

Jose Osuna is set to get regular reps at first base with Josh Bell likely seeing most of his time from designated hitter. Based on last year’s results, Osuna could be a breakout candidate for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Through the 285 plate appearances Osuna received, the right hander hit .270/.311/.456 line. That also came with 10 home runs and 20 doubles, and a .320 wOBA. Overall, Osuna’s body of work at the plate was roughly league average. He had a 100 OPS+, 97 wRC+ and his wOBA was exactly the league average. Plate discipline wise, Osuna only had a 16.8% strikeout rate. He isn’t known to be much of a big strikeout guy, with a minor league strikeout rate of just 15.9%, but it does come at the cost of his walk rate, with a 6.3% walk rate in 2019, and a career walk rate of 4.8%.

However, Osuna did post a bit of a higher xwOBA of .328, meaning there is still a bit of room for improvement. Osuna had an expected slash line of .274/.323/.447. While those aren’t great numbers, overall still making him a league average bat, it shows that he can improve upon his 2019 season. There is good reason to believe that he can outperform his expected stats. Osuna has an average exit velo of 89.2 MPH. The average exit velocity is 87.5 MPH. He also had a 37.4% hard hit rate, which is also better than the league average of 34.5%, per Baseball Savant.

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Osuna has the hard hit rate and exit velocity to be a good batter. All he needs to do is get the ball in the air more. Last year, he had a 47.5% ground ball rate. The average BAbip on a ground ball was .236. If he can get the ball in the air just a bit more, Osuna could be an underrated good batter.

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