Scouting Rangers Prospect #48: Renny Osuna

Renny Osuna proved to be a force with the bat last season, as he opened the year by batting .360 with the Clinton LumberKings. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at the 23-year-old infielder with a feature article and an in-depth scouting report.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Renny Osuna
Position: Infield
DOB: April 24, 1985
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 172
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

The Rangers drafted Renny Osuna in the 32nd round of the 2005 MLB Draft following his outstanding two-year career at New Mexico Junior College. At the school, Osuna had a career .445 batting average with 33 doubles, 10 triples, and seven home runs. He helped lead the Thunderbirds to their first ever JUCO national title by hitting .668 in the 2005 JUCO World Series.

Despite attending college in the U.S., Osuna – a native of Venezuela – had visa issues that kept him from playing professional ball in America right after the draft. The infielder was forced to begin his career with the Dominican Summer League Rangers in the summer of 2006. The DSL proved to be no challenge for Osuna, as he hit .333 with 15 walks and five strikeouts in 66 at-bats before he was able to obtain a visa and join the AZL Rangers for the remainder of the '06 campaign.

Osuna, who was drafted as a second baseman, split time between second and third base with short-season Spokane in 2007. Although Osuna batted just .274 with 15 extra-base hits in 252 at-bats for the Indians, he earned praise from roving hitting coordinator Mike Boulanger for his plate discipline and advanced inside-out approach.

Those skills shined this past summer, when Osuna hit .360 in 68 games for the Single-A Clinton LumberKings. The numbers were especially impressive considering the pitcher-friendly nature of the Midwest League. By season's end, only three qualifying hitters [2.7 plate appearances per game] were batting over .300 in the 14-team league.

The performance gave Osuna a well-deserved promotion to High-A Bakersfield. Although his numbers took a slight hit, he continued to produce with consistency. The 23-year-old batted .317 with 18 doubles in 62 games with the Blaze.

In addition to his impressive play at the plate, Osuna had an opportunity to showcase his defensive versatility in 2008. The infielder spent time at second base, shortstop, and third base with Clinton. After moving to Bakersfield, Osuna was strictly a second baseman, with Marcus Lemon already manning shortstop. However, Lemon spent most of this year's fall instructional league playing second base, leading to many questions as to where the two will play in 2009.

Also See: Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Mike Boulanger (September 17, 2007)
Sizing up the middle infield prospects (October 8, 2007)
Beyond The Top 50 Prospects (January 10, 2008)
Minor League Mailbag (July 17, 2008)

Batting and Power: The two things that make Osuna such a successful hitter are his plate discipline and his mature inside-out approach. Osuna rarely swings at bad pitches, as evidenced by his 53 walks [versus 65 strikeouts] in 526 at-bats last season. His approach makes him great at going gap-to-gap [he had 39 doubles in 2008] and hitting the ball to the opposite field. Osuna may never hit for much power at the higher levels, but he will likely be a guy who posts a solid batting average and a high on-base percentage wherever he plays. He is one of the system's most intelligent hitters.

Base Running and Speed: Although his speed is not much better than average, Osuna makes up for it by being an excellent baserunner. He displays good instincts on the basepaths by accurately reading balls in the dirt and taking advantage of opportunities for extra bases. He is also a fairly efficient base stealer, swiping 14 bags in 18 attempts last season.

Defense: Despite being raw defensively, Osuna has the skills to play third base, shortstop, and second base. The infielder has excellent athletic ability and decent arm strength. However, is arm is often erratic, as he sometimes doesn't set his feet before making routine throws. Osuna is also slow to get down at ground balls on times. Both issues led to a combined 30 errors in 130 games between Clinton and Bakersfield in 2008. Though Osuna may be best suited for second base down the line, his high baseball IQ coupled with his above-average tools should allow him to develop into a passable defender at short and third as well.

Projection: Should the Rangers decide to keep Osuna at one position, second base is probably where he'll wind up. But the Rangers' big league infield is currently a position of strength and they have a handful of high-ceiling prospects up the middle, making it more likely that Osuna becomes more of a utility player down the line. Regardless, Osuna is expected to see more time at second base than any other position. The 23-year-old's athletic ability, intelligence, and advanced approach as a hitter could make him an excellent big league utilityman.

2009 Outlook: Osuna should open the 2009 season with Double-A Frisco, and he is expected to see time at multiple positions. He will definitely be sharing a middle infield with Marcus Lemon – whose position is currently in question after he played second base at instructs – and possibly Jose Vallejo. The Rangers are likely to begin grooming Osuna for a utility role next season, and that means giving him significant time at second base, shortstop, and third base. He'll probably play all season in Frisco, but if he gets off to another hot start like he did in 2008, a late-season promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma isn't out of the question since he will soon be 24-years-old.

ETA: 2010.

2006 DSL Rangers (DSL) .333 66 5 0 4 15 4 15 5 .470 .439
AZL Rangers (RK) .234 77 6 0 6 10 3 5 8 .289 .312
2007 Spokane (SSA) .274 252 12 1 25 42 6 21 33 .336 .349
2008 Clinton (A) .360 267 21 3 43 55 8 31 27 .425 .502
Bakersfield (A+) .317 259 18 1 23 45 6 22 38 .371 .405

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