Continuing our look at the Miami Marlins 2017 MLB Draft, we move to their 22nd round pick. University of Tampa product,J.D. Osborne.
In his first year of professional baseball, J.D. Osborne contributed most by playing a number of different positions in the Miami Marlins system. Standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing 215-pounds, he fits the profile of a corner infielder and a backstop. He saw extended time at all three positions.
Despite playing well defensively at all three positions, the Marlins ultimately drafted him for his bat. He was a tower of power for the Tampa Spartans, something Miami was hoping would translate into his professional game. It didn’t in his first year while he made adjustments.
While Osborne didn’t set Rookie Ball on fire in his first season, he did enough to come back next year. He’ll need to show considerable growth in year two, though.
The split between what Osborne did in college and what he did playing for the GCL Marlins is stark. The competition is obviously much tougher, and there is reason to believe that his struggles at the dish were a result of growing pains.
In his senior season as an amateur baseballer, Osborne slashed .387/.429/.743, hit 20 home runs, and went down on strikes only 11.8-percent of the time. He struggled to work a walk, but put the ball in play frequently enough that his OBP was still impressive.
Against superior pitching, his lack of discipline at the plate came back to bite him. Aside from failing to put any over the fence in 100 plate appearances, Osborne managed only four extra-base hits; all doubles. His OBP is aided by 12-walks and being hit by two pitches.
What the future holds
Osborne holds enough potential power to keep the Miami Marlins organization interested in him as a prospect. Jumping between first base, third base, and catching behind the plate suggests that the Marlins don’t exactly know where to put him.
If his bat doesn’t force them to find a spot for him, they’ll decide not to.
Osborne’s talent is undeniable. He was a member of the Canadian Junior National team and was easily the most productive bat on his team in college. Playing in the talent rich state of Florida, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
But being taken in the 22nd round, and with the Marlins having only shelled out $2,000 to bring him into the fold means that they won’t hesitate to cut him loose.
Significant gains in OBP and slugging percentage are the keys to his future in professional baseball.