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Who is Giants rookie Josh Osich?

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Josh Osich
Josh Osich
Patrick McDermott, Getty Images

San Francisco Giants left-hander Josh Osich made his major league debut against the Washington Nationals last night. He pitched a shutout inning of relief with a strikeout, though with a few shaky moments with two walks. More chances will come and although his path to the majors wasn't especially smooth he could be a valuable bullpen arm.

A native of Boise, Idaho, Osich pitched college baseball at Oregon State University. After two seasons in the bullpen scouts were impressed with his size and arm strength but his stock was clouded by Tommy John surgery which cost him the entire 2010 season. He came back as a redshirt junior in 2011 and pitched pretty well as a starter (3.64 ERA, 79/34 K/BB in 77 innings) but continued concerns about his health and command pushed him to the sixth round.

The Giants moved him back to relief work and he pitched well in the California League in 2012, though limited to 32 innings by nagging injuries. A trip to Double-A in 2013 was less successful (4.85 ERA) and he continued to show durability issues in 2014 (just 33 innings).

2015 has been much better: 34 innings already between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento with a combined 1.59 ERA, 34/10 K/BB and 19 saves in 20 attempts.

It has never been a matter of stuff for Osich: his fastball sits at 93 MPH and can touch 96, very impressive for a southpaw. He also has an upper-80s slider (which can also touch 90 according to PITCHf/x at least) and will mix in an occasional low-80s change-up. He's overpowering when on and is effective against both left-handed and right-handed hitters, so he doesn't have to be confined to LOOGY work.

Osich still needs to sharpen his command and durability is probably going to be an issue given his track record. But lefties with his kind of stuff aren't easy to find and we should be seeing him in big league pens for some time.