The Toronto Blue Jays have a very successful young man who wants to close out games. Will Roberto Osuna get the chance?
? Osuna Matata, means no worries at the end of the game..?
It’s a parody of a Disney Lion King song by the name of Hakuna Matata, which is a Swahili phrase that roughly translates to “no worries”. It was heard throughout the Rogers Centre last season. It followed rookie closer Roberto Osuna’s entrance into the game in the 9th inning, and was chanted throughout the stands. There were t shirts, and there were memes. All this for a rookie kid who seemed to come out of no where.
Roberto Osuna had his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays on April 8th, 2015. This made him not only the youngest player to pitch for the organization, but also the first player born in 1995 in the MLB.
Osuna was signed by the Blue Jays right out of Mexico and had three years in the MiLB. It was in 2013 while with the Lansing Lugnuts that he sustained a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. At the time he was advised to rest and rehab, but ended up having Tommy John surgery by late June of that year. He wouldn’t be back in action until July of 2014.
Osuna’s 2015 preseason ranking had him named number 6 prospect in the Blue Jays organization by the MLB and he was sent an invite to spring training. He wasn’t expected to make the team. He impressed after starting against the Tampa Bay Rays, holding them to over three scoreless innings. By the end of spring training he had made the Blue Jays roster as a reliever.
Osuna is quite the pitcher to watch. It is also interesting to see the fan response to his walk out to the mound. For a pitcher with so little experience in the spotlight, there is no denying his composure in the most stressful of situations. He became the calm to end the storm. He seemed so remarkably unaffected when in the fishbowl, well beyond what his years would suggest.
There is talk that Osuna’s position will be usurped by Drew Storen. The closing position being the reason Storen was acquired from the Washington Nationals by the Blue Jays. Is that really the way to go though? Storen posted a .344 ERA in 2015 but his ERA was 9.22 after the Nationals acquired Papalbon at the end of the trade deadline. Is it a stretch to worry that he gets rattled in pressure situations? Maybe, but it doesn’t stop the thought from coming to mind. Storen could be utilized as a reliever, keeping the RBIs at bay while leaving Osuna to do what he did so well last season, closing.
There has been some shake up this off season, but the core of the team has remained. It’s a championship team. A team where they played well together and made baseball fun and exciting. Osuna has spoken of his desire to remain the closer, though he is careful to mention he will do whatever the Blue Jays need him to do. He just wants to help his team win. He said as much to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
“Obviously, yeah, I want it. But I can’t control it. We’ll see what happens. Like I said, I don’t care about roles. If I’m the closer or not, I will go out there and do my best, no matter. If I get the ninth, eighth, seventh, six, don’t really care. I just want to help the team win, that’s it.
“So they’re going to try to find a better way? Then I’ll accept it.”
Leaving in place what was working really is the way to go, and last season, Osuna was working. The much needed calm to end the storm.
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*Featured Image Credit: Keith Allison UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Catherine Stem is a Blue Jays fan and writer who has combined both of these great things by writing for Jays From the Couch. Through all the ups and downs of baseball, all aspects of the game are explored. Keeping a close eye on the Blue Jays Triple A team, the Buffalo Bisons has also become part of her make-up.