Last night in Baltimore, Roberto Osuna recorded his 100th career save in a tight 2-1 win over the Orioles. For any big league reliever this would be a huge accomplishment, but Osuna is still just 23 years old and hasn’t even reached his prime yet.
Back in 2015 when the Blue Jays decided to have a then 20-year old Osuna on the team, it made me question the state of Toronto’s bullpen to resort to having such a young reliever. It didn’t take long however for Osuna to not only prove he belonged, but for him to establish himself as the Blue Jays best relief pitcher.
Where would the Blue Jays be these past three seasons without Osuna? Do they even make the post-season in 2015 and 2016 without an elite closer like him closing out all those tight ball games? It seems as if the Blue Jays have asked so much of this young man, but he’s been more than up for the task in what’s been a remarkable beginning to his big league career.
With save number 100, Osuna is now third in franchise history in saves, only behind Tom Henke (217) and Duane Ward (121). Even more impressive is how Osuna compares to several of the best closers ever when they were a similar age to what he is now. When it comes to career saves, Mariano Rivera (652) and Trevor Hoffman (601) are 1st and 2nd on that list by a long-shot. As good as those two pitchers were, even they didn’t have 100 saves by the time they were 23. In fact they didn’t even have a single save by the age of 23, as both Rivera and Hoffman weren’t in the big leagues until they were 25.
It’s safe to say Osuna hasn’t even reached his full potential yet. If he continues to improve his game and rack-up the saves, this is only the start of these comparisons between him and the greatest closers of all-time.