After a successful 20-save campaign in 2015, Roberto Osuna began his sophomore season with the newly acquired Drew Storen threatening to take the closer role. By the end of 2016, the latter was no longer on the roster and Osuna had locked down 36 saves in 42 chances. Among AL relievers, the right-hander finished sixth in saves and tied for fourth with 72 appearances. He demonstrated elite command by averaging more than a strikeout per inning and 1.7 BB/9. The 22-year-old's average fastball (95.8 mph) is the real deal, while his 0.93 WHIP ranks among the best in MLB. His Achilles heel was a tendency to give up the long ball. After serving up three home runs over 39.2 innings prior to the All-Star break, Osuna surrendered six in 34.1 second-half innings. Needless to say, his post-break ERA of 3.15 was significantly worse than the 2.27 he posted before the Midsummer Classic. Osuna has the tools to be a perennial top-10 closer.
Osuna struck out two in a clean frame to cap off Tuesday's victory in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Indians. Taking no chances, manager John Gibbons brought in Osuna, his closer, in a non-save situation to finish off the Indians. He remains perfect through six appearances this postseason, picking up a win and a save while striking out nine in six appearances (eight innings).
Osuna pitched two innings to pick up the win in Sunday's extra-innings affair with the Rangers. He struck out two in the final game of the ALDS. Osuna has been practically unhittable since the playoffs began. The closer has pitched in three of the team's four postseason affairs, notching a win and a save while allowing just one hit and recording six strikeouts over five innings. Osuna's numbers almost identical to what they were through the first four games of last season's playoff run. However, he struggled against Kansas City in the 2015 ALCS, including be slapped with the series-ending loss. In addition, the right-hander hasn't been overwhelmingly impressive this season against either of the Jays' possible ALCS opponents, the Red Sox and Indians.
Osuna (arm) came into Friday's game in the eighth inning to replace Francisco Liriano (head) and successfully converted a five-out save. Despite stating that he wouldn't use his closer for more than an inning, the extraneous circumstances of Liriano's removal forced manager John Gibbons to turn to Osuna earlier than expected. Osuna held his own well, giving up only one hit and striking out a pair, and he even reached 97 miles per hour with his fastball. It seems like the 21-year-old's arm is fine, and he should be good to go for the rest of the series, especially considering the Blue Jays have a day off Saturday.
Osuna (arm) stated that he was available in Thursday's Game 1 win over the Rangers, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports. Toronto cruised to a 10-1 win, so Osuna's services weren't needed in this one, but it's clearly an encouraging sign after the 21-year-old was forced out of the AL Wild Card game with a minor arm injury. The closer played catch prior to Thursday's game and came away from the session not feeling 100 percent, but his availability for Game 1 would seem to indicate he'll be good to go either way for Friday's Game 2.
Osuna's forearm is feeling better, but it's yet to be determined if he'll be available to pitch Thursday against the Rangers, Shi Davidi of SportsNet reports. Osuna's health has continued trending in the right direction, but the club hasn't indicated whether or not they'll use their closer if they find themselves in a save opportunity Thursday. Osuna had a great season, as he threw for a 2.68 ERA and 0.93 WHIP while notching a 28.5 percent K-rate. However, he blew three of his last four save opportunities during the regular season.