Pirates Decide To Keep Jose Osuna Around

PITTSBURGH—The Pirates left Jose Osuna unprotected in the 2015 Rule 5 draft and the first baseman went unselected. They didn’t want to risk losing him this year.

The 24-year-old Osuna hit a combined .279/.331/.457 with 13 home runs this season in 133 games between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. That prompted the Pirates to add him to the 40-man roster to prevent him from qualifying for minor league free agency.

Osuna showed good pop—his home run total was deflated by playing his home games in two pitchers’ parks—which is in short supply in the organization.

The Pirates were particularly encouraged that the righthanded hitter showed better numbers at Indianapolis following his late-June promotion. He also hit .352 with a .932 OPS versus minor league lefties this year.

“The ball comes off his bat a little bit differently,” Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor said.

Osuna, who signed with the Pirates as an international free agent in 2009, said playing winter ball in his native Venezuela last winter, when he was named the league’s rookie of the year, helped him make the adjustment to Triple-A.

“They threw a lot of sliders, so sometimes I had to take a pitch to wait for my pitch,” Osuna said. “I made that adjustment, so now I hit with more confidence at the plate, see the ball better and make good contact. I faced a lot of good pitchers with a lot of talent and experience last winter, so I had to make an adjustment to that league very quick.”

Osuna is playing winter ball again and will likely begin 2017 at Indianapolis.

While he appears blocked on the Pirates’ depth chart by switch-hitting first baseman Josh Bell, a pathway could open for Osuna.

If the Pirates trade star center fielder Andrew McCutchen, which is a possibility, Bell could shift to the outfield. That could open the door for Osuna to eventually take over for veteran John Jaso.


• The Pirates also added righthanded reliever Dovydas Neverauskas to the 40-man roster to stave off minor league free agency. The 23-year-old Lithuanian struck out 8.7 and walked 3.4 per nine innings in 47 appearances at Altoona and Indianapolis this season.

• Righthanded reliever Edgar Santana and third baseman Connor Joe were selected to play in the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars Game. Joe went 0-for-1 while Santana got two outs in the game.

Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone