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J.D. Osborne was drafted by the Miami Marlin in 2017 in the 22nd round. He is off to an impressive season debut in the NY PENN League and with the Batavia Muckdogs. Through 44 games he is batting .350 with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HR, 18 RBIs and a .414 OBP. He has spent most of the season as a catcher but has also played first and third base.
He has a powerful, level swing and makes hard contact with the ball. For a catcher he has decent speed and gets around the bases quickly and efficiently. On defense he has a strong arm, shows leadership and confidence on the field
J.D. Osborne jogged out the Batavia Muckdogs clubhouse, greeted me as if we were old friends who hadn’t seen each other in years and powerfully shook my hand with his huge muscular arms. There’s no doubt he takes his training seriously and hits the weight room often. He was energetic and appeared to be thrilled to talk with me and do an interview. J.D. is definitely a fun person to be around and enjoys life as a professional baseball palyer.
MF: This is your first season in the NY PENN League, what are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing?
JD: I played college ball in Division II, so the velocity from the pitchers is a little higher than I saw at school ball. I’m still making some adjustments with the guys who throw 95 mph or more.
MF: You’ve played third base, first base, and catcher so far this season. All physically and mentally demanding positions to play, how do you prepare yourself for such diverse roles?
JD: I take my reps daily at all of those positions. I catch bullpens and work on my blocking and receiving. I take fielding practice and ground balls at both third and first almost every day as well. I just stayed mentally prepared, focused, and always ready for wherever I’m needed on the field.
MF: You’ve been very consistent at the plate all season and over the past three weeks your bat has really come alive. Did you make any adjustments or change anything in your approach at the plate?
JD: No, my approach to hitting has always been the same. I go to the plate looking for a pitch that I know I can put in play. I’ve been taught to never deviate from the plan.
MF: Speaking of hitting, what type of bat do you swing?
JD: I love Old Hickory bats, they just feel so comfortable with my swing. I have used some Mark Lumber bats as well, they’re a Canadian maker of really good bats.
MF: You’re from Whitby, Ontario, Canada, almost directly across Lake Ontario from where we sit. You’ve spent the past few years down in Florida playing for Polk State College and then the University of Tampa. Now you are playing in the Marlins organization, that’s a lot of Florida connections. Is there anything truly unique that you miss from Canada?
JD: I miss the people from home and good authentic poutine. There’s a restaurant back home I really miss called Jimmy Guaco’s, THE BEST burritos ever, man do I miss those!
MF: There’s such a diverse mix of international players on your team and in the league, what are some of the obstacles you guys face together?
JD: Communication is a big issue. I don’t speak Spanish and a lot of the guys I catch for do. So we’re learning to communicate with each other with our signals. Even though we haven’t learned each other’s language yet doesn’t mean we don’t understand each other. They know on mound visits that I’m trying to make sure we’re on the same page and that I’m supporting them and have their back.
MF: Tell me something different about learning and playing the game in Canada?
JD: We play it a little more aggressively, maybe you want to call it a hockey mentality when we run the basses or slide into a base or home.
MF: Who in the Marlins organization has been a positive influence or given you some great advice?
JD: All the coaches here in Batavia are so supportive, positive and want you to learn and succeed. I couldn’t ask for a better first year manager than Mike Jacobs. He has so much experience and knowledge to share and offer. We all feed off one another and learn so much together.
MF: In your limited free time away from baseball what do you like to do?
JD: I just started playing the guitar about a year or so ago. I’m learning and watching YouTube videos to help me. I’m getting pretty good.
MF: Who are some of your favorite athletes?
JD: Brett Lawrie in baseball. #16, Darcy Tucker for the Toronto Maple Leafs. I loved that guy.
MF: Favorite MLB Ballpark?
JD: I saw a lot of games at the Sky Dome now the Rogers Centre
MF: Favorite song or music heard in the ballpark?
JD: Anything Michael Jackson, Rock with You by MJ
MF: What’s better day games or night games?
JD; Either is great, I just want to play.
MF: Spring or Fall baseball?
JD: Spring baseball
MF: Favorite ballpark food?
JD: Hot dog, loaded
MF: Why is it called the foul pole?
JD: Um… I’m not sure, you got me (shrugging and laughing). It’s fair and in play. Weird.
Chatting with a baseball player is always enjoyable but talking with J.D. was downright fun. He has a powerful energy to him that’s infectious and definitely carries out into his game. You can tell that same energy transfers into his swings at the plate and while wearing the tools of ignorance.