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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Roberto Osuna

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MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Roberto Osuna is coming into his fourth season with the Blue Jays. He has 95 saves, placing him fourth on our all-time list. If he can get 27 saves, he’ll be number 2 on the list. After that he’s three more years away from catching Tom Henke.

Last year he had the worst ERA of his career (3.38), but the best FIP (1.74) of his career. His strikeout rate was up (33.3%, up from 28.5) and his walk rate was down (3.6%, down from 4.9).

He also had the most saves of his career (39) along with the most blown saves of his career (10). He had a crappy start to the season, blowing 3 of his first 4 save opportunities, then ran off a stretch of 22 straight converted saves. From July 18 on, he was pretty up and down with 16 saves with 7 blown,

There was some bad luck in there, Roberto must have led the league in bloop hits. When he came in we seemed to forget how to play defense, and, of course, there was the game where his catcher couldn’t figure out how to get his glove in the way of Roberto’s pitches. I would expect he won’t have as much trouble locking down saves this season.

So far, this spring, Roberto has pitched 6 innings, allowed 6 hits, 1 earned, no walks, with 6 strikeouts.

He throws a lot of pitches for a closer. High 90’s fastball, slider, changeup and he started throwing a cutter last year. All those pitches makes us wonder how he would have done as a starter. It isn’t going to happen, but it is interesting to think of the alternative universe where we didn’t put him in our pen and continued to develop him as a starter. I had him as a starter in OOTP Baseball a couple of years ago.

Anyway, PECOTA is looking for a very good season from Roberto, 2.39 ERA in 65 innings and 31 saves. ZiPS sees a 2.70 ERA and 32 saves.

The question is always going to be ‘should the Jays be shopping Roberto?’ Since Billy Beane turned trading closers into an art form, fans expect teams to be trading their closer. I don’t think anyone’s untouchable, but we control Roberto through the 2020 season, so he’s relatively cheap for the next while.

He’s young enough that he’ll still be great when Vlad and Bo are batting in the middle of our order. In fact he’s young enough that anyone you mention to take his spot will be likely be older. I thought Ryan Tepera could slide into the closer role, but he’s 30 now, 7 years older than Roberto.

I’d love to see Osuna stay around long enough to past Henke and become our all-time saves leader. Heck, I’d love to watch him past Mariano Rivera in 15 years or so.

Poll

If I was running things, I’d

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    shop Osuna.
    (20 votes)
  • 89%
    hang on to him.
    (162 votes)
182 votes total Vote Now