Wednesday, July 27, 2011

16-YEAR-OLD PITCHER OSUNA TO SIGN WITH JAYS?

After losing out to Pittsburgh in the Luis Heredia Sweepstakes last year, the Toronto Blue Jays don’t want to let another young Mexican pitching prospect slip through their fingers. Even though they reportedly offered more money than the Pirates, Heredia’s lifelong friendship with Pittsburgh scout Jesus “Chino” Valdez was likely a deciding in his signing with the Buccos last year…that and a $3 million signing bonus (much of which went to the Veracruz Aguilas, the Mexican League team that owned the rights to Heredia).

This time, Toronto may have landed a different well-regarded 16-year-old Sinaloa pitcher in Roberto Osuna, who said he was ready to sign with the Jays (who will likely offer Heredia-like money). Unlike Heredia, who had zero professional experience before reporting to the Pirates training complex in Florida last fall, the 6’0” 198-pound Osuna (who hits the mid-90’s on the radar gun) made 13 appearances in the Mexican League this season. Although he got roughed up more than once, the nephew of former MLB pitcher Antonio Osuna pitched reasonably well most of the time, going 19.2 innings for an 0-1 record and a 5.49 ERA, not a bad number for a hitter’s league like the LMB, striking out 12 and walking 10 for Mexico City. No doubt the Diablos will get their cut no matter who signs Osuna.

The right-handed Osuna, who is ranked fourth by Baseball America's Ben Badler on a list of international prospects, reportedly is leaning toward Toronto over four other teams and has already made an appearance at the Jays complex in Florida.