TCN 2016 Cardinals Prospect #9: Edmundo Sosa

The 19-year-old shortstop moves into our top 10 St. Louis Cardinals prospects for the first time.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile

Hometown: Panama City, Panama

2015 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
19 SS 03,06,96 5-11 170 R R 2012 FA

Selected 2015 stats

JC 0.300 0.342 200 30 60 8 7 16 16 38 6 0.390 0.369 0.485 0.854

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (10): Edmundo Sosa received all kinds of support last year, ultimately landing at #15 during the community vote. This year, Sosa jumped up to #10 during the reader balloting. SoonerinNC said that Sosa had a good year at Johnson City, but feels it was not a big step up from the Gulf Coast League in 2014.

Last year, UncleDenny commented that Sosa seemed like he would lose his concentration at times. Freshjmm said that the only knock on Sosa was from Baseball America, which said that Sosa had “fringy arm strength, but makes up for it with a quick release.” Also posted last year, Scadder21 said he would take Breyvic Valera over Sosa, a vote I am sure he wishes he could have back this time around. It seems Sosa is here to stay on the various Cardinals top prospect lists. - Jeremy Byrd

Derek Shore (12): Though left off of top 10’s on some major prospect publications, Sosa continues his climb The Cardinal Nation’s annual list with his ninth ranking this winter. Since signing in 2013 and debuting as a Cardinal in 2014, the shortstop went from 32nd to 19th and now ninth in his rapid ascension on TCN’s yearly rankings over the past few winters.

Sosa hit .327 in his first season as a professional with the Dominican Summer League Cardinals but his average plummeted to a .275 mark in his first year stateside. However, last year scouts began to believe in his smooth glove actions and ability to remain at shortstop with the bat as his carrying tool.

With that, Sosa again put together another solid season in 2015 -- his first outside of instructional baseball -- and hit right at the .300 mark with a career-high seven home runs and 16 RBI on route to an Appalachian League post-season All-Star nod.

"He's very strong," Johnson City hitting coach George Greer told on August 18th. "He's got a quick bat. Power is the last thing to come in a young hitter. He's starting to mature as a hitter, as far as getting his pitch is concerned. He's beginning to attack the fastball and hit the head on the breaking pitch when the situation presents itself."

"Tremendous potential, again a five-tool player, has a chance to move on and have a nice career," Greer later reiterated to TCN. "He's getting better and better every year. He showed the ability to be coachable.”

As time goes on and Sosa progresses, he projects as a shortstop prospect and an up-the-middle guy. He should stick at short, but he has the versatility to play on the other side of the bag, if needed. He has very smooth hands, instincts, body control and arm strength. Scouts like his bat-to-ball ability, but because he is a younger player from Panama, there are some issues with his swing and timing at the plate.

The Cardinals player development staff and outside sources have lauded Sosa before -- this past season the industry saw an improving player on both sides of the ball, especially from a plate discipline and consistency standpoint. All of that bodes well for his future, but some also say he could hit for average power and have average tools across the board while playing one of the most prime positions the Cardinals have struggled to develop for over a decade.

"He needs at-bats, and Sosa needs to see different kinds of pitching," Greer told "He needs to see different movements, different arm angles, all those things that hitters can experience in about 1,500 at-bats in the Minor Leagues."

Some scouts are not enamored with his projectability, but Sosa has shown real present all-around ability and has continued to add polish to his game. There were rumors of Sosa potentially jumping to Peoria last off-season. That should be the case in 2016.

Brian Walton (8): Over the last year, Sosa has clearly emerged as my top infield prospect in the Cardinals system – middle or corner. This despite the fact he is still in rookie ball and just completed his third professional season, second in the US, at the age of 19.

My peer voters do not agree, which is why shortstop Aledmys Diaz is yet to come in this countdown. There is no doubt the Cuban is closer to the majors, but Sosa, 5 1/2 years younger, outperformed Diaz offensively and was far more consistent at their respective levels of competition in 2015.

No matter how you feel about the relative ranking of the two, Sosa has more prospect momentum in relation to their peers. Since last year’s top 40, he has vaulted over middle infielders Juan Herrera, Breyvic Valera and Jacob Wilson and was already ahead of Greg Garcia and Oscar Mercado.

The Appalachian League All-Star batted an even .300 on the season while leading the Johnson City club in triples (four) and was second in home runs (seven) and on-base percentage (.369). While Sosa’s slugging percentage and OPS were third on the team, as points of comparison, they were 91 and 89 points higher respectively than our 10th-ranked system-wide prospect, Magneuris Sierra. (Note: Sosa is just one month older than Sierra.)

In other words, facing the same pitching, Sosa reached base at essentially the same rate as Sierra, but demonstrated substantially more thump in his bat. That is especially exciting coming from a shortstop.

Defensively, Sosa is continuing to improve with good instincts and a quick release covering for his fringe-average arm. In 182 chances this season, he made just seven miscues. Despite playing on poorer-quality fields, his .962 fielding percentage was almost identical to Diaz’ .964. (Due to a whopping 41 errors, Mercado came in at just .902.) In terms of range factor, Sosa edged Diaz, 4.49 to 4.38, with Mercado at 3.56.

In spring training 2015, the Cardinals had Sosa and Mercado in a job sharing arrangement, creating the impression the two were in direct competition. That was not the case, with Mercado going on to spend the full season at Class-A Peoria. Sosa played the entire summer two rungs down despite having been given a brief taste of State College at the end of 2014.

This spring, it would seem that Sosa has a good chance of supplanting Mercado in the Midwest League, with the latter moving up to Palm Beach. In full-season ball, Sosa should receive more of those game reps he seems to need most of all.

Our 2016 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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