- Full name José Osuna
- Born 12/12/1992 in Trujillo, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 235 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 04/18/2017
Organization Prospect Rankings
It has been a long, slow climb up the organizational ladder for Osuna, and he has yet to play in the major leagues eight years after signing. However, he is now on the cusp after being promoted from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A Indianapolis in 2016 and then being added to the 40-man roster after the season so that he would not qualify as a minor league free agent. Osuna was primarily a pitcher during his amateur days, but the Pirates were intrigued by his raw power potential as a hitter. Though his pop has yet to completely manifest, Osuna did show more power in 2016 while also maintaining his good eye at the plate. He is not very athletic and is a very slow runner. However, through hard work he has turned himself into a solid defensive first baseman. Though he has a strong arm, his lack of his range makes him a below-average fielder at both outfield corners. Osuna will head back to Indianapolis to begin the 2017 season, but he has a chance to break through to the majors as a righthanded power source off the bench.
Osuna was a hard-throwing pitcher while growing up in Venezuela before his career on the mound was sidetracked by various arm ailments as a teenager. The Pirates loved his big-bodied frame and felt he could eventually turn into a power hitter. The process has been slow and there have many bumps along the way, but Osuna possesses about as much power potential as anyone in the system. What distinguishes the righthanded batter from most power prospects is that he has a good eye at the plate and is willing to take a walk, which gives the Pirates hope he will continue to develop. While he has the arm strength to play right field, his range is limited. Osuna has worked hard to learn first base and has reached the point that he is now quite nimble around the bag for a big man. The Pirates have been patient with him, and he advanced to Double-A Altoona in 2015 after beginning four straight seasons at the Class A level. A return to Altoona is in the works for 2016, especially if Josh Bell begins at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Osuna was one of the top pitching prospects in Venezuela until he mysteriously started losing velocity on his fastball as a 15-year-old. Most clubs backed away, but the Pirates were intrigued by his power-hitting potential and signed him as a first baseman for $250,000 in 2009. The sturdily built Osuna's value is wrapped up entirely in his bat. He doesn't run well and is a poor defender, but he can hit the ball a long way. He has above-average power potential and a willingness to work counts to get pitches to drive. He's a streaky hitter who almost always looks to pull the ball. Osuna's lack of speed and arm strength limit him strictly to first base. How well he handles high Class A pitching as a 20-year-old will say a lot about his ultimate ceiling.
Osuna was considered one of the top young pitching prospects in Venezuela as a 15- year-old but his velocity took a mysterious dip in 2009, so many teams decided against bidding on him. The Pirates saw potential in Osuna's bat, however, and signed him for $275,000. It seems like a prudent decision, as he has shown plus power in his limited pro experience. Osuna has loft to his swing and the type of bat speed and leverage that should allow him to hit plenty of balls out of the park once he body matures. Unlike most young power hitters, he understands the strike zone and doesn't chase many bad pitches. Osuna is not overly athletic, though, and his lack of speed and range will limit him to either first base or left field. His arm is fringy, too. Pittsburgh has a dearth of power-hitting prospects, so he'll get the opportunity to hit his way to the big leagues. He's polished enough at the plate to be able to handle low Class A as a teenager in 2012.
Minor League Top Prospects
Osuna tried out for teams as a pitcher in Venezuela, but his velocity dipped and the Pirates signed him for $250,000 as a hitter. He has developed quickly, showing good instincts at the plate and the ability to hit to all fields. Osuna gets on base at a high clip, doesn't strike out much and has a good swing. He has good present strength and has the leverage and loft in his swing to hit for power. His arm and speed are average at best, so he's limited defensively to first base and left field. His bat will have to carry him.