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Season that was: Roberto Osuna

A look at Roberto’s 2017 season.

Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Happy Thanksgiving for those of you across the border. I hope you have a great day.

Going into the season, we really didn’t have any questions about Roberto Osuna. We knew how the Blue Jays were going to use him. Some of us may still have been thinking about how much better it would be if the Jays made him a starter. I liked the the idea of using Osuna earlier in games, maybe 2-3 innings if needed, but we all knew he was going to continue to be the 9th inning guy,

And he did.

2017    22 3 4 3.38 66 58 39 64.0 46 24  3  9 83   3  4  137 1.74 11.7

He had 10 blown saves. They came at the start and the end of the season. He had 25 converted saves in a row, from April 29 to July 25.

Roberto had a 1.5 bWAR and a 3.0 fWAR. The fWAR would make him worth $23.6 million to the Jays.

He had a 1.74 FIP and a 2.57 xFIP, both well below his ERA. Suggesting that he was a little unlucky.

His BABIP was higher (.285) than in the past (.256 in 2016, .238 in 2015).

Compared to 2016, his strikeout rate was up (33.3%, from 28.5) and his walk rate was down (3.6%, from 4.9).

Roberto’s line drive rate was down (17.8%, down from 19.8), ground balls up (48.0%, from 33.2) and fly balls down (34.2%, from 47.1). Far fewer of his fly balls left the park (5.8%, from 10.2).

He had far less hard contact (27.9% from 37.9), but he also had less soft contact (11.7%, from 25.4).

He was equally good vs right-handers (.191/.219/.290), as left-handers (.204/.252/.252).

Roberto was far better at home (.154/.179/.214), than on the road (.239/.288/.333).

His first half (2.06 ERA, .177/.195/.266) was much better than his second half (4.97, 218/.275/.282).

Roberto by month:

  • April: 5.63, .313/.303/.469, in 8.0 innings.
  • May: 1.42, .159/.196/.250 in 12.2 innings.
  • June: 0.79, .105/.128/.158 in 11.1 innings.
  • July: 4.50, .227/.286/.250 in 12.0 innings.
  • August: 4.85, .216/.259/.255 in 13.0 innings.
  • September: 3.86, .160/.222/.320 in 7.0 innings

So, in many ways, Roberto had his best season yet. Lowest FIP, best strikeout rate, lowest walk rate, lowest line drive rate, fewest should have been a great season.

But....he had the 10 blown saves.

I don’t know why things went badly in those games. It seemed to be bloop hits, bad luck, bad moments, occasionally bad catching or bad defense.

He missed a bit of time, here and there. He missed the very start of the season, missed time with the flu, had some anxiety issues and missed a bit of time on parental leave.

3 seasons into his MLB career and not yet 23-years old, Roberto has 95 career saves, putting him 4th on the franchise list. 27 more saves would put him 2nd on our list. After that, he needs 3 or 4 more years to pass Tom Henke.

Jonah Keri, among others, suggested he have been shopped at mid-season, figuring teams overpay for closers and that Ryan Tepera could slide into the closer role. He is eligible for arbitration this winter, so he’s due for his first raise. I don’t know that teams overpay for saves as much as they once did, but you could likely get quite the haul for Roberto.

We did run a poll:

Personally, I’d listen on anyone, make me an offer and I’ll consider it. But, speaking as a fan, I like watching Roberto and I like the idea of keeping someone around whose career we can follow. I’m old, I like the idea of keeping a guy for his career. I know it doesn’t happen much, but I’d like to keep Roberto around. He’s 23 now, I’d love to see him retire at 40 as a Blue Jay.