Osuna has no trouble with Aqua Sox

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:23 PM ET

The Everett Aqua Sox are the class of the class"'A Northwest League.

They have the best record (32-12), have scored the most runs (234) and the second-best team batting-average (.254).

Their average age is almost 21.

And Vancouver Canadians manager Clayton McCullough sent recently promoted right-handed pitcher Roberto Osuna, 17, with 43 pro innings under his belt, to the mound in Everett, Wash., before 3,717 fans Saturday night.

It wasn't fair.

Osuna struck out 13 Everett hitters in five innings -- four on called third strikes -- and needed only 75 pitches.

"I'd seen Roberto at extended spring," McCullough said, "(Rookie-class Bluefield manager) Dennis Holmberg got him going, they made conditioning a priority between starts. He'd improved. It was fun to see him first under the lights.

"He made an impression, against the best team in the league, and enjoyed the whole moment."

The teenaged Osuna struck out the side in the first and second:

Centre fielder Jamodrick McGruder, 20, a ninth-round selection this June, given a $139,800 signing bonus to leave Texas Tech University, was caught looking in the first and third innings.

Third baseman Patrick Kivlehank, 22, a fourth-rounder in June from Rutgers, signed for a $353,000 bonus, struck out swinging in the second and fifth.

DH David Villasuso, 22, a 42nd-rounder from 2011 out of the University of Miami, fanned in the second and the fourth.

Second baseman Brock Hebert, 21, a 14th-rounder from Southeastern Louisiana University, was called out on strikes in the second, then swung and missed in the fifth.

Right fielder Richard Palase, 21, a 32nd-rounder from Lynchburg College, was called out on strikes in the third and went down swinging in the fifth.

Catcher Mike Zunino, chosen third overall in North America from the University of Florida and given a $5.2 million signing bonus, struck out swinging in the first.

First baseman Taylor Ard, a seventh-rounder from Washington State, given a $149,700 bonus, was called out on strikes in the first.

Michael Faulkner, a 12th-rounder from Arkansas State, struck out swinging in the fifth, but reached as the ball went to the screen.

"Guys in our dugout who had not seen him are looking at me (and saying): 'Like wow,' " McCullough said.

The outs besides the strikeout were two fly balls to left and a popup to short.

Osuna allowed one hit and walked two.

"Our guys were saying that was a little different," McCullough said. "He had a few three-pitch strikeouts, 75 pitches in five innings is not a lot. A big strikeout game for us has been Javier Avendano striking out seven or eight in five (innings)."

McCullough said Osuna's fastball was 93 m.p.h. and he touched 95-96 "a couple of times."

The Jays paid the Mexico City Reds $1.5 million for Osuna's rights. It's uncertain how much Osuna received.

"The majority of his pitches were fastballs, he pitched so well to both sides of the plate," McCullough said.

Before the series began, McCullough told Everett manager Rob Mummau, the former Jays minor leaguer (1993-2000), "I think you'll like our guy tomorrow."

And Mummau said "I think you'll like our guy."

Venezuelan right-hander Victor Sanchez, who is eight days older than Osuna, worked six innings, allowing five runs -- three earned -- didn't walk a man and struck out eight in his ninth start for the Mariners affiliate.

When McCullough made the pitching change in the sixth inning, he told the ump "this next guy is OK too."

On came Marcus Stroman, who worked two scoreless innings, allowing one single and striking out two.

"That was a career night by Roberto," McCullough said. "We don't expect him to do that every night.

"We do expect him to give us a chance to win every night."

The Aqua Sox rallied from a 5-0 deficit to score five in the ninth to tie the score and won in the bottom of the 10th when McGruder hit a walk-off single against reliever Zack Breault of Amherstburg, Ont., one of four Canadians on the team. Breault is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA.

Thunder Bay's Eric Brown is 2-4 with a 7.07 ERA in nine starts. Cobourg's Nick Purdy is 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA.

Mississauga outfielder Dalton Pompey is on the disabled list, hitting .294 with four RBIs.


DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Jesse Chavez took the loss, working 3 2/3 innings and giving up three runs -- two earned -- on four hits and a walk as triple-A Las Vegas fell 5-2 to Salt Lake as part of Monday's action. DH Ricardo Nanita had two hits. Las Vegas is averaging 4,427 fans at Cashman Field, 15th of 16 teams in the Pacific Coast League.
  • Sam Dyson, who had a short stint with the Blue Jays earlier this season, blew a save in the ninth and was tagged with the loss in the 10th as double-A New Hampshire fell 3-2 to Altoona. Dyson allowed two runs -- one earned -- on three hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings. He committed an error, allowing the tying run to score in the ninth. It ruined a strong outing by Chad Jenkins, who allowed one run in seven innings. Koby Clemens had two hits, including a solo home run.
  • Egan Smith gave up four runs on four hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings as class-A Dunedin fell 9-3 to Palm Beach. Kevin Ahrens, a former No. 1 pick, hit his sixth homer, as Kevin Pillar and Jonathan Jones each had a pair of hits.
  • Not often do the visitors put up eight runs on the scoreboard at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing, Mich. Aaron Sanchez allowed five runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and a walk in five innings, while Brandon Berl gave up three runs in the sixth. Andy Fermin bounced out to bring in the winning run in the seventh in class-A Lansing's 9-8 win over South Bend on Monday. Gustavo Pierre had four hits, including a two-run homer.
  • Catcher Santiago Nessy had three hits while right fielder Jacob Anderson double twice in rookie-class Bluefield's 8-3 win over Greenville. Daniel Norris picked up his second win giving up three runs in five innings.

POWER RANKINGS

One evaluator's look at the top five prospects in the Blue Jays system:

1. SS Adeiny Hechevarria (.313 average, six homers, 62 RBIs, .790 OPS in 98 games at triple-A Las Vegas).

"If you phoned before Jose Bautista was injured, I'd have Anthony Gose No. 1. He's still getting adjusted. He had the same problems with his leg kick every level he moved up. The shortstop is for real. Why do you think they're trying so hard to move (Yunel) Escobar?"

2. OF Jake Marisnick (.251, seven homers, 41 RBIs, .750 OPS in 89 games at double-A New Hampshire and class-A Dunedin).

"This guy is a pure centre fielder, he's good with the glove, runs the bases well and can hit."

3. RHP Aaron Sanchez (8-2, 2.36 ERA, 44 walks, 84 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings in 21 games at class-A Lansing).

"How can you not like a kid this young doing this well? They're babying him, which they have done with others, but it still didn't prevent injuries."

4. RHP Roberto Osuna (1-0, 1.24 in eight games at class-A Vancouver, rookie-class Bluefield, seven walks, 37 strikeouts).

"Travis d'Arnaud should be in here somewhere, I know he's done for the year, but we'd take him. I saw Osuna in Florida and he looked bored, he was that far advanced."

5. OF John Tolisano (.256, five homers, 30 RBI, .732 OPS, 18 steals at New Hampshire).

"Let me throw a long shot at you. Every time I see this kid he impresses me. I'll bet he's never been on your weekly list. He's going to play in the big league for five years. I've been wrong before ... but not since 1972."


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