INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Indians may have a familiar bat in its lineup to start the season. With spring training in full swing, the Pirates roster looks to have a lot of depth, which means plenty of talent may end up playing for the Tribe come Opening Night.
One of these players is utility man Jose Osuna. During his short stint in Indianapolis last season, Osuna appeared in 63 games, belted seven home runs as part of 27 extra-base hits and drove in 31 runs. These numbers were good enough for him to be named offensive player of the year by the Indians coaches.
Osuna's star shines bright in short stints. Last spring training, he had nine at-bats with the big league club registering five hits, with one home run and six RBI. So far this spring training, Osuna is batting .440 (11-for-25) with eight RBI and is tied for second in the majors with four home runs.
With some Pirates players gone for the World Baseball Classic, Osuna can expect to see some time in the outfield and may also play some games at first base. If he continues to be productive, it will not be long before he makes his way to Pittsburgh. However, with the depth the Pirates have at those positions, he will likely be in Indianapolis to start 2017.
This is a very good thing for Indians fans. The Indians offense ranked 11th in the International League last season hitting .249, but the Tribe began 2016 by hitting .263 in April while they had hitters like Josh Bell, Alen Hanson, Adam Frazier and Jason Rogers leading the way. Unfortunately, the likelihood of those four being in an Indians uniform to start 2017 is very low.
Indianapolis may need Jose Osuna to help pace the offense come April. Osuna is a .288 hitter for his career in the month of April, which would be helpful to start the season. If Osuna continues his stellar production, he may be making his major league debut sooner rather than later.