Draft | Top Prospects | 6/1/2011

50 in 50: Josh Osich

Allan Simpson        

Josh Osich
LHP / Oregon State

Height/Weight: 6-3/225
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Previously Drafted: Angels ’10 (7)
Birthdate: Sept. 3, 1988

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Osich is your classic high-reward, high-risk lefthander. He has unquestioned first-round quality stuff with a fastball that will peak at 98 mph, but Osich also never won a game in his first three years at Oregon State. He missed all of the 2010 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Osich was brought back slowly this season in a starting role for the Beavers, and has averaged just five innings a start. But he continued to increase his workload through the spring, and his stuff and command have predictably improved with almost every outing. Everything came to a head on April 30, when he pitched a 2-0 no-hitter against UCLA, walking just one and striking out a career-high 13. He outdueled Bruins high-profile righthander Trevor Bauer, who fanned 15, and Osich’s sudden breakthrough came about, coincidentally, when he was finally given the green light to cut loose with his breaking stuff. Prior to that game, he had been limited to using just his fastball and changeup. He dominated UCLA with all three pitches, and that single performance may have pushed Osich over the top and into first-round consideration for this year’s draft, though teams remain skeptical of his long medical file and checkered record of success in four years at Oregon State. Though he failed to win a game as a freshman in 2008, going 0-0, 7.56 in 12 appearances, Osich’s impressive raw stuff was readily apparent, and it came to the forefront that summer for Corvallis in the West Coast League. Not only did he pump his fastball anywhere from 92-98 mph, but he hardly broke a sweat doing it. He generated easy heat, mostly at 94-95, though his fastball often straightened out and tended to elevate the harder he threw it. It was apparent then, though, that Osich needed to develop better command and better feel for his secondary stuff to become a more complete pitcher. His slider and changeup both graded out as slightly below-average pitches. As a sophomore at Oregon State, Osich made 17 appearances (one start), but again failed to win a game. Even though Osich hadn’t throw a pitch in more than a year, he was nonetheless selected in the seventh round of last year’s draft by the Los Angeles Angels, but gave little thought to signing. Finally healthy again this spring, Osich has been used strictly as a starter, but the prevailing wisdom, given his history of injuries and lack of finesse, is that he’ll eventually end up in a meaningful short-relief role, where he could excel with his power arm. With the notable exception of his signature outing against UCLA, Osich’s stuff and command have been inconsistent this spring. His fastball has generally ranged between 92-96 mph. As Oregon State entered NCAA tournament play, Osich was 6-4, 3.57 with 32 walks and 79 strikeouts in 76 innings. There may be a lot of temptation on the part of some clubs to pop Osich late in the first round because of his tremendous upside, but the sandwich round might be more prudent.

Projected Draft Position:
Late first round / compensation round.

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