Let’s Remember Some Dodgers: Antonio Osuna & John Lindsey

It is time for another entry into my time-killing series Let’s Remember Some Dodgers, giving Dodgers Digest quality content while I reminisce on players from my childhood.

I’m finally writing one of these without a player from the 2005 Terrible Dodgers, but still not exactly going too far back into the franchise’s history. One will be another long-time Dodgers reliever whose early career numbers likely helped him extend his run with the franchise longer than expected. The other is a player who spent more time than anyone else (at least as of 2011) in the minors before making his major league debut with Los Angeles.

Antonio Osuna

No one threw more innings in relief than Osuna did between 1995 and 2000, with his 327 IP well ahead of the next two on the list (Mark Guthrie 216 IP and Todd Worrell 187 1/3 IP). Signed at 18 years old out of Mexico in 1991, Osuna spent four years in the minors before debuting in the majors on April 25, 1995 just a few weeks after turning 22.

Osuna entered the 1995 season as the No. 15 overall prospect on Baseball America after a 0.98 ERA in 46 IP for Double-A San Antonio and a 0.00 ERA in another 6 IP for Triple-A Albuquerque the previous year.

The 44 2/3 innings during his first season ended with a 4.43 ERA and a 3.91 FIP, but over the next two years Osuna became a critical part of the Dodgers’ bullpen. Throwing 145 2/3 innings in 1996 and 1997, Osuna compiled 2.1 WAR with a 2.66 ERA and 3.23 FIP. The WAR total put Osuna inside the majors’ top 30 for the two years combined, while the ERA ranked in the top 10 and his 26.1 K% was 13th among relievers with at least 100 innings during the time span. Los Angeles leaned on Osuna heavily in those two seasons, with his innings total 24th among relievers. Additionally in his first two seasons (1995 and ‘96), Osuna pitched in five of the Dodgers’ six postseason games. Despite allowing two runs in 5 1/3 IP with 7 Ks, Osuna took the loss in two of those games as both were decided by just one run.

Across his final three seasons with the Dodgers, Osuna’s numbers fell a bit with a 3.56 ERA and 4.06 FIP in 136 2/3 IP from 1998-2000, as his BB% rose to 11.9%. Injuries cost Osuna most of the 1999 season due to bone spurs and a partial tear of his UCL.

On last crazy note is Osuna was one of the many Dodgers punished after members of the team brawled with Chicago fans at Wrigley Field.

Ahead of his age-28 season, after 10 years with the organization, the Dodgers sent Osuna to the Chicago White Sox. Osuna currently ranks fourth in relief innings pitched for the Dodgers since 1995, trailing only Kenley Jansen, Jonathan Broxton and Pedro Baez. For comparison’s sake, Osuna’s career closely mirrors Baez:

John Lindsey

Lindsey only played in nine games for the Dodgers in 2010 and did not join the franchise until 2007 as a 30-year-old minor leaguer.

After seven years in the Colorado Rockies’ organization, three for the Seattle Mariners and one with the Florida Marlins, Lindsey seemed to be ready to call it quits after parts of two seasons in independent ball. However, the Triple-A Las Vegas manager Lorenzo Bundy helped convince the Dodgers to bring Lindsey into Spring Training after the two had spent time together in Colorado’s organization. Lindsey proceeded to dominate for Double-A Jacksonville (.286/.368/.539/.907 in 56 games) and Triple-A Las Vegas (.333/.393/.617/1.010 in 77 games) during 2007.

The numbers continued in 2008 as Lindsey slashed .316/.407/.557/.964 in 133 games for Las Vegas, finishing 10th in the Pacific Coast League with 26 home runs and fourth with 100 RBIs.

Primarily a first baseman, Lindsey didn’t provide much versatility for a potential call-up. James Loney and Nomar Garciaparra combined for 93% of the plate appearances at first in 2007, with Loney himself responsible for 94% of the PAs at first in 2008. Meanwhile, the Dodgers wasted a roster spot throughout 2008 on Mark Sweeney. In the final year of his career, Sweeney slashed .130/.250/.163/.413 in 108 PAs across 98 games while serving as the team’s primary pinch hitter.

After a year in the Marlins organization, Lindsey came back to the Dodgers in 2010 and slashed .353/.400/.657/1.057 in 107 games for Triple-A Albuquerque before finally getting the call to the majors. After 16 years in the minors, Lindsey made his major league debut at 33 years old for the Dodgers on Sept. 9, 2010, a day after being announced as a pinch hitter only to be replaced by Andre Ethier before he reached the plate due to a pitching change.

Lindsey’s lone career hit came a few days later in Houston before the heartbreaking end to his season about two weeks later. Starting at first base on Sept. 25 against the Diamondbacks, Lindsey broke his hand after being hit by a pitch from Daniel Hudson. Joe Torre technically put Lindsey in during the regular-season finale against the Diamondbacks on Oct. 3, before immediately replacing him with Trent Oeltjen.

Lindsey landed back in Albuquerque in 2011, where he hit well again (.309/.404/.543/.947) in 75 games but missed about a month of time between July and August. However, he couldn’t get a call back to Los Angeles where Eugenio Velez was busy going hitless off the bench.

After 2011, Lindsey left for the Detroit Tigers organization for parts of two years followed by another stint in indy ball and finally a few years in Mexico.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree.