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Selected 2014 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Message board community (15): Edmundo Sosa started receiving votes in the community discussion at #14. That speaks very clearly to his high upside as a prospect. MagnoliaCardFan was under the impression that Sosa is limited to second base, but CariocaCardinal quickly corrected him, believing Sosa is a lock to remain at shortstop.
Mudville believes that Malik Collymore has a higher ceiling than Sosa and didn’t exactly have ringing words of endorsement regarding the organization’s ability to develop a shortstop from the last 15 drafts. UncleDenny wrote how he has Juan Herrera ahead of Sosa on his personal list, but Sosa prevailed in the balloting anyway, garnering the 15th slot during the community vote. - Jeremy Byrd
Derek Shore: Sosa came onto The Cardinal Nation top 40 with an impressive 2013 season with the Dominican Summer League Cardinals, and in 2014 played his first season stateside. He did nothing but help his prospect status, jumping up 13 spots in the rankings.
The 18-year old shortstop, perhaps one of the youngest players in the system on U.S soil, played in 52 games with the Gulf Coast League Cards and hit .278 with a .717 OPS. He struck out just 29 times all season. If you throw out his rough August, his OPS is over .800.
That performance earned him a late-season promotion to State College where he finished the year by appearing in three games. In five at-bats, he only one hit, but the time was too short to draw any conclusion from.
Here is what GCL Cards manager Steve Turco had to say about the young rising shortstop.
“At 5-foot-11, 168 pounds, Sosa isn’t big" but stands “head and shoulders above other guys in almost everything he does,” Turco said. Sosa “is not a practice player. He’s not going to wow you with what he does in a workout, but when you see him in a game he has a poise and savvy a lot of other kids don’t have.”
Turco said when he first saw Sosa spring training before last season, “I wasn’t sure he could stay at shortstop because his arm strength is barely average, but he does other things that indicate he could stay there.” Turco explained that Sosa has “an innate ability to read hops and a clock in his head to gauge runners.”
Baseball America ranked Sosa as their 10th-best prospect among all GCL players in their yearly league rankings. They said Sosa makes contact at a high clip due to an easy, level swing and showed an ability to use the whole field with gap power. Baseball America suggests the shortstop could be a high-average, top-of-the-order hitter if he can draw enough walks.
They believe Sosa was one of the better defensive shortstops in the GCL. The only knock on him is a fringy arm, but he makes up for it with a quick release, BA says.
All the reports on Sosa’s stateside debut seemed to come out positive. I would like to see him begin at Peoria for 2015, but in reality the organization may take it more slowly, starting him in extended spring training and seeing how he does in State College before pushing him to the Midwest League.
Brian Walton (21): The raw rankings numbers might seem to imply that I am not high on Sosa. That is not the case. In fact, he is my top-ranked middle infielder – among those still in short-season ball.
At this still-early stage of Sosa’s career, I remain a bit guarded. I am just not yet ready to put the 18-year-old ahead of more advanced infielders like Jacob Wilson and Breyvic Valera, despite a realistic chance he may surpass them eventually.
Cardinals minor league hitting coordinator Derrick May singled out Sosa as a young player to keep an eye on. “He is fun to watch,” May said. “He is an energetic type of shortstop.”
Among his peers, Sosa’s star shines the brightest of four very promising, but young shortstops who are all still in short-season ball. As a result, the Cardinals are going to have to be very creative in sorting out playing time in 2015 to ensure they do not rush anyone. None of the four in question have yet to master State College, so Peoria would appear to be a stretch for any of them, at least until mid-to-late summer.
Joining Sosa and fellow top 40 prospect Oscar Mercado in this group are 2014 sixth-rounder Andrew Sohn and highly-regarded Venezuelan Leobaldo Pina. The latter two were only out of the 2014 picture due to injury, but all four shortstops should be ready to go in the spring.
Of course, this wealth at the position does not include two other full-season shortstops still ahead in this countdown in Juan Herrera and Aledmys Diaz.
Second base at the short-season levels may not be an obvious escape valve for playing time, either. It is also crowded with top 40 prospects and league all-stars Darren Seferina and Malik Collymore, not to mention Chris Rivera, who also played third base at Johnson City in 2014.
For the Cardinals, having a wealth of promising shortstops is an unusual but advantageous situation to be in. While Diaz is certainly in the lead to become Jhonny Peralta’s eventual replacement due to his contract, age, proximity to the majors and 40-man roster spot, Sosa and his youthful contemporaries will soon be hot on the Cuban’s heels.
Our 2015 top 40 series continues: To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 40 countdown and nine in-depth, follow-up articles. Most of the latter are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.
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