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Viva El Birdos 2017 Cardinals Top Prospects: #12 Edmundo Sosa

The Panamanian shortstop didn’t have a great year, but the potential is still there

St Louis Cardinals Photo Day Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: the red baron has once again written up a very large number of prospects, done a great job on them, and combined them in just a few posts. You can read those posts, including a dozen reports on players who just missed the list by going here. This post contains a write-up of just a single prospect in a perhaps easier to digest form.-CE

#12: Edmundo Sosa, SS

5’11”, 170 lbs; R/R; 6 March 1996

Relevant Stats: 90 wRC+ in 88 games, 20 y/o (Peoria)

So, what’s so great about this guy?

Overall, 2016 was a banner year for the Cardinals’ farm system. They saw multiple top prospects enter the system through the draft and international signing period, and saw some other prospects already in the fold take steps forward, moving closer toward the spotlight.

However, there were a couple notable exceptions. Specifically of note, both of the top positional prospects in the Cards’ system as of last year had rather forgettable 2016 campaigns. Magneuris Sierra had the sort of letdown season you don’t notice so much, on account of the elevated BABIP, and we just talked about him a moment or two ago.

Now let’s talk about Edmundo Sosa.

This time last season, Sosa was the top shortstop prospect in the Cards’ system, and it wasn’t particularly close. And considering Magneuris Sierra had already begun to show signs of no-power and no-walks, it seemed fairly clear (at least to this author), that Edmundo Sosa was, in fact, the king of the mountain as far as hitting/position player prospects in the Cardinals’ system went.

At the time, Sosa was coming off a sterling season in which he showed off at least average defense at shortstop and an extremely intriguing offensive profile for said position. Playing at Johnson City in 2015, Sosa posted a .185 isolated slugging percentage, hit seven homers, and overall in 223 plate appearances collected nineteen extra-base hits. His wRC+ for the season was 137, and all seemed right with the world. This was a live wire middle infielder with surprising thunder in his wrists, and it was easy to put him up near the top of the list.

This season, Sosa advanced to Peoria for his first crack at full-season ball. And things did not go as planned.

The one real positive on the year for Sosa was this: he solidified himself as a bona fide shortstop. He’s not quite the potential wizard at the position someone like Delvin Perez is, with absolutely electric raw ability, but Sosa is a shortstop. He’s at least average, probably a tick or so above, and there’s no reason to think he’ll be anything but an average-or-a-tick-or-so-above shortstop for a good while to come. So there’s that.

The bad news is that Sosa’s offense backed up badly in 2016. The intriguing power he showed in 2015 virtually disappeared, as he went from those nineteen extra-base hits in 223 plate appearances last year to just seventeen XBHs (and only three homers), in 378 Midwest League PAs this past season. His walk rate declined by almost two percentage points, and his strikeout rate increased by almost two percentage points. Pitchers challenged Sosa, and he failed to make them pay.

Altogether, the downturn in Sosa’s production from 2015 to ‘16 amounted to a fall from that 137 wRC+ of ‘15 to a 90 this year. That’s not brutally bad or anything — it’s still a better mark than any produced by Oscar Mercado at any level — but it’s not great, either. It’s discouraging, at the very least.

However, there’s still plenty of value in an above-average defensive shortstop who can hit for anything close to a league-average line. Quite a lot of value, in fact. Sosa may have fallen behind both Perez and Allen Cordoba for me in the pecking order of players I see as making an impact at the position, but he’s still a very, very valuable piece to have around.

Player Comp: Alexei Ramirez seems sensible, as a solid defender at the toughest position on the field who didn’t embarrass himself with the bat most years.

via Baseball America: