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Viva El Birdos Cardinals 2018 Prospect Rankings: #23 Edmundo Sosa

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Will this low placement look foolish in a year? Let’s hope so.

Surprise Saguaros v Scottsdale Scorpions Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: A.E. Schafer aka the red baron has once again compiled a rather impressive list of Cardinals prospects doing a write-up on 40 individual prospects. As a convenience to our readers, he releases the list in a couple big chunks so everyone can read about all of the prospects at once. While that is a convenience to all of us who eagerly await the arrival of prospect lists, it might not be as convenient if you are looking for a player’s particular scouting report. So, as a further convenience, we are putting the individual scouting reports in separate posts to make individual players easier to find. You can find the full lists on our 2018 prospect page here. —CE

#23: Edmundo Sosa, SS

5’11”, 170 lbs: Bats/Throws: Right/Right

DOB: 6 March 1996; Signed 2013 (Panama)

Level(s) in 2017: Palm Beach (High A), rehab in rookie ball

Notable Numbers: 211 PA, .285/.329/.347, 98 wRC+

So, what’s so great about this guy?

The biggest thing Edmundo Sosa has going for him for sure at this point is the fact he is the best defensive shortstop in the system. Or, at least, the best defensive shortstop who isn’t so bad offensively as to not really qualify as a prospect. Delvin Perez has the superior defensive tools, but Sosa more that holds his own in terms of physical abilities, and has become a very polished, smooth defender at the position as well.

Now, he does have something else going for him which is far less of a sure thing, but I’ll get to that in a bit. Let’s talk about the negatives for a moment.

Sosa has never again shown the sort of pop he displayed in 2015 at Johnson City. That summer he showed real bat speed, enough lift to smack seven homers in just 200 at-bats, and a smart, disciplined approach at the plate that led him to walk over 7% of the time despite not being a very feared hitter. The offensive arrow was very much pointing up on Sosa at that moment.

Since then, though, the patience has gone the wrong way, the contact rate has gotten slightly worse, and the power has largely evaporated. Shortstops who can pick it at the position don’t need to clear a very high offensive bar, but there have been times when I’ve questioned whether Sosa would be able to clear even a low bar. He did put up a 98 wRC+ this season in Palm Beach before going down with a hamate bone injury, but that was aided by a .344 BABIP that I don’t believe he has the quality of contact to support. That hamate injury is a further problem, considering how we’ve seen players in the past struggle to hit for any kind of power following wrist injuries.

However, let me get to the thing that I said Sosa has going for him, albeit in a much less certain fashion than his defense, which is certifiably solid and a big part of his value. In the Arizona Fall League, which Sosa played in primarily as a way to try and make up for lost time this season, he showed off a completely remade swing, which I don’t recall at all from even earlier in the 2017 season. I didn’t get to see him play a ton this year, admittedly, but I don’t believe he made the swing changes until later on.

I had planned on writing up the changes to Sosa’s swing a few weeks ago; community member Bclemens6 was nice enough to put up a post containing a couple GIFs from the fall league which I was going to use as a way to put down my own thoughts on Sosa’s attempt at remaking his offense. Unfortunately, work intruded that particular day, and I never did get back around to writing about Sosa.

Sosa appears to have basically gone for the Josh Donaldson/Jose Bautista leg kick-uppercut combo of swing remakes, as he now incorporates a pronounced leg lift into his trigger mechanism. Put simply, Edmundo Sosa now has a much, much more interesting swing. The bat speed is suddenly better. His weight transfer is more powerful. His swing path is no longer chopping down into the ball. I wish he would load his hands a little more down and back, rather than starting them up, but that’s something that can be worked on.

At this point, I really have no idea what to make of Edmundo Sosa. He’s a very competent defender at shortstop, of that I have no doubt. But I want to wait and see if this offensive change is transformative, or simply cosmetic. If he does, in fact, change his offensive outlook significantly, then that completely alters what kind of player he is.

Which is making it very difficult right now to try and place him into a prospect list.

via Baseball Census: