Meet The 21-Year-Old Pitcher From Mexico Who Is Already Becoming A Baseball Star
Roberto Osuna, the latest Mexican sensation in Major League Baseball, came out of nowhere last season to become a solid closer for the Toronto Blue Jays. This year, the hard throwing right-hander is off to a fast start with the Blue Jays and appears to be on the verge of becoming one of the game’s best closers.
The 21-year-old has quickly made an impact in the big leagues. Here’s his first MLB strike out:
Yep, versus Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees.
Imagine being on the other end of a pitch like this one:
Scary, isn’t it?
But it wasn’t easy. Osuna was born in a cartel-infested town in Sinaloa, Mexico.
Osuna grew up in Juan Jose Rios, a small town controlled by the Sinaloa drug cartel. But Roberto’s time there didn’t last long. Osuna and his family moved to Los Mochis, Sinaloa, where baseball became his life.
Roberto Osuna Sr. spent 22 years as a pitcher in Mexico’s professional league.
The younger Osuna wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps; he picked up a glove very early on.
However, when his dad retired from baseball, Osuna’s family struggled financially.
Once Osuna Sr. retired from baseball, the income stopped. The family didn’t have enough money to support Osuna Jr., his younger sister and twin brothers.
Osuna dropped out of school and joined his father as a fruit picker.
“We were so poor. We ate some eggs in the morning and beans. That’s all we ate the whole day. And we ate some tomatoes from the fields,” said Osuna to Sportsnet. Osuna admits dropping out of school also helped him concentrate on baseball. As a 12-year-old, he joined a traveling team that paid him to play in tournaments overseas. After being paid under the table for his services, Osuna would send the money back to his family.
At 14, Osuna returned to Juan Jose Rios to play youth baseball. He was scouted by Mexico City’s pro baseball team, Los Diablos Rojos.
Once Osuna turned 16, he was allowed to sign a professional contract. Everyone wanted to snatch up the teenager who was throwing a fastball in the mid-90s. The Diablos Rojos, a team Osuna Sr. once played for, were the lucky winners.
Osuna only played 13 games for Diablos Rojos… for a good reason.
Everyone knew Osuna was destined for the big leagues, including the Diablos Rojos. Teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees were interested in the young pitcher, but the Toronto Blue Jays won a bidding war for Osuna’s services. Toronto paid $1.5 million to acquire Osuna. Although most of it went to the Diablos Rojos, Osuna used what was left for him to buy a house for his family in Los Mochis.
After ups and downs in the minor leagues, Osuna got the opportunity of his life.
Osuna had mixed results in his four years in the minor leagues, but the potential was there. The Blue Jays called up Osuna on April 8 of last year. He appeared in 68 games out of the bullpen and posted an impressive ERA of 2.58 and recorded 20 saves.
Not only did he make it to the Major Leagues, Osuna helped the Blue Jays in the MLB playoffs.
Osuna’s solid pitching was a big reason why the Blue Jays returned to the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Toronto captured the American League East division title and advanced to the American League Championship Series last season before losing to the eventual World Series champs, the Kansas City Royals.
Teammates have embraced Osuna… including superstar Jose Bautista.
Bautista appears happy to have the Mexican pitcher on his side. Nice sombrero, Joey Bats.
Despite his newfound popularity, Osuna hasn’t forgotten where he came from.
Here he is proudly showing off Los Mochis to a camera crew from Canada’s Sportsnet TV network.
And he always carries a little piece of home wherever he goes. Just look at his breakfast:
This season, Osuna will be the closer for the Blue Jays, so expect to see a lot more of him.
Osuna won the closer role once again during spring training, which has fantasy baseball geeks drooling over his potential. Osuna, however, is working toward getting the Blue Jays back into the playoffs, and this time, to the World Series.
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