Edmundo Sosa and Delvin Perez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Shortstop Edmundo Sosa is one of the newest members of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 40-man roster.

The Cardinal Nation’s top 50 prospect countdown for 2017 continues at #14 with a shortstop who may soon be approaching his Double-A debut. Details for TCN members.

http://www.scout.com/player/171157-edmundo-sosa?s=321

2016 rank Pos. DOB Signed Round
9 SS 03 06 96 2012 IFA

Selected 2016 stats

Tm AVG BABIP AB R H 2B HR RBI BB SO SB wOBA OBP SLG OPS
PB 0.294 0.385 34 3 10 0 0 4 1 8 0 0.333 0.314 0.412 0.726
Peo 0.268 0.325 351 42 94 13 3 30 19 71 5 0.302 0.307 0.336 0.643
Tot 0.270   385 45 104 13 3 34 20 79 5   0.307 0.343 0.650

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (15): During the community vote, Edmundo Sosa finished as the 15th highest rated player. I was the first to vote for him, selecting Sosa as my ninth best prospect during the vote. Sosa landed a bit more support beginning at #12. This marks his third year as a prospect in the top 15.

When I voted for Sosa, I noted that compared to Eliezer Alvarez and Allen Cordoba, Sosa is younger and has consistently been promoted before the other two prospect. Scadder21 countered that saying that he believes Cordoba to be the more explosive player of the two.

BobReed also chimed in saying that Sosa’s glovework and baserunning were solid enough that he was still worth nearly 2.0 WAR according to Baseball Prospectus. He also liked that Sosa hit seven more home runs than Cordoba when comparing the seasons each had in the Appalachian League. CariocaCardinal believes Sosa’s ceiling defensively is an elite shortstop. – Jeremy Byrd

 

Derek Shore (16): Although his ranking dipped after being TCN's ninth-best prospect a year ago, Sosa took another positive step in his development in 2016. He garnered a Midwest League midseason All-Star honor before reaching High-A Palm Beach in his first full season as a 20-year old. That gave the Cardinals enough confidence to place him on the 40-man roster in November, avoiding exposing him to the Rule 5 Draft.

Sosa, 20, opened the season with Low-A Peoria as one of the youngest shortstops in the league, but that didn't stop him from handling advanced pitching to the tune of a .268/.307/.336 slash line with three home runs and 30 RBI through 88 games (351 at-bats). His performance made an impression on his coaches.

"He's a talented young man who plays solid shortstop with good range and a good arm," Chiefs manager Joe Kruzel told Dave Eminian of the Peoria Journal Star. "He runs the bases well, and he has the potential for a high average with a little thump in there. You're looking at an exciting young talent."

His Peoria hitting coach Jobel Jimenez spoke about Sosa as well.

"Edmundo has got some ability," Jimenez said. "He's one of the guys you have to pay attention to because he's a young kid. That guy shows he can hit. He's got a good idea about the strike zone. He swings aggressively; sometimes overly aggressive, but he's a young guy.

"As soon as he starts to handle and pay attention to the details, for sure, no doubt, he will be another interesting guy in the organization. Every time that guy goes to the batter's box, the other team has got something to say about this guy. He's got something special, but he's got to continue to put in the work."

On July 22, Sosa received a surprising promotion to Palm Beach and immediately supplanted the Cardinals former second rounder Oscar Mercado, a once heralded defender, at shortstop. The right-handed hitter was limited to just nine games, finishing the year on the disabled list due to a wrist injury.

"This guy has special tools, but he's still working," Jimenez added. "He needs to focus more on the details, but the good thing is when we put him in High-A he wanted to work hard and wanted to try to be at the level of the league. As the game sped up and got a little bit faster, he's tried to be at that level."

The Panamanian native is listed at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, with a medium, athletic looking body combined with broad shoulders that give him some room to fill out and add strength. According to one report, Sosa "swings a big bat to get his swing going," but has average bat speed with leverage. While his offense did back up a bit due to chasing balls out of the dirt, he still possesses a solid approach and maintains excellent hand-eye coordination which could help him begin to manifest power potential as he continues to learn the pitches he can handle and those he can square up to drive.

Defensively, some scouts see Sosa as a major-league quality defender at short already. He is a sure-handed infielder with field awareness coupled with solid footwork. Scouts are split on his range and arm strength from average-to-above-average as he can struggle to charge in on balls and make strong throws to get good runners out at times but ultimately projects to stay at short with the bat being his calling card.

Overall, Sosa should hit for a high-average with perhaps a limited power profile, but that could be made up with more walks integrated offensively. It seems he will get every opportunity to stick at short with his fallback being an above-average second baseman. With the potential of his bat, a super utility-type wouldn't be the worst of things either.

While some point Sosa's 2017 opening assignment to Palm Beach, I believe he will begin the year at shortstop for Double-A Springfield.

"Hopefully, he can stay healthy," Jimenez said. "(If he does), he's going to do a really good job. He's been (was) down with us in instructional league and improved a lot. He doesn't feel anything with the wrist. He's working every day and hitting well. Everything's going to come back."

 

Brian Walton (10): My individual vote confirms that I still see Sosa as a top-10 prospect in the Cardinals system. However, I am alone in that view this time around after we all agreed on his general placement one year ago.

In my assessment, there seems two primary reasons Sosa slipped slightly from 2016 in the other voters’ rankings as well as in our overall blended score.

One is the sheer wealth of pitching moving up through the system. As you may have been able to surmise and will be confirmed in detail over the next two weeks, the majority of the prospects still to be introduced in this countdown are hurlers.

The second factor is that three other position prospects closer to the majors passed Sosa in these rankings along with one new 2016 draftee debuting higher.

Those having moved ahead are Carson Kelly, Harrison Bader and Paul DeJong. A lot has changed in a year. 12 months ago, the extent of Bader’s and DeJong’s professional resumes were a partial season at Class-A Peoria. While Kelly’s defense had progressed, his bat had yet to take hold. Since, all three have excelled at least at the Double-A level. Given that, Sosa has nothing to apologize about.

The higher-ranking new draftee is also a shortstop, first-rounder Delvin Perez. The teen was one of the top talents in the 2016 Draft, having fallen due to concerns about a failed drug test, not his on-field capability. Again, this is no negative reflection on Sosa.

However, the shortstop environment in the system is rapidly changing. On one hand, that creates opportunity for Sosa, but also indicates increased competition.

Let’s start at the top. Jhonny Peralta is already out of the shortstop picture. Aledmys Diaz has proven his bat plays in the majors. However, there are some who believe his days at shortstop are numbered due to subpar defense.

That would seem to offer increased hope for Sosa.

However, a new entrant into the derby happens to be located between Sosa and St. Louis – DeJong. Drafted as a third baseman but with prior experience at short, DeJong is being penciled in as Memphis’ starting shortstop in 2017 after moving to the position prior to the 2016 Arizona Fall League.  If DeJong is successful, that could create another potential roadblock for Sosa.

Until two weeks ago, coming up most closely from behind would have been Allen Cordoba, who has since been taken by the San Diego Padres in the Rule 5 Draft. Cordoba could still be returned to the Cardinals, but even with a dose of MLB experience under his belt, probably isn’t ready to pass Sosa.

But there is also Perez to consider in the rear-view mirror (see photo above for physical proof!). The 18-year-old isn’t going to jump all the way from the Gulf Coast League to Springfield at once, but his talent is such that he should be able to move up the ladder very quickly and should receive priority when he shows he is ready for more advanced competition. So, the clock is ticking.

Normally, based on Sosa having just nine games at the A-Advanced level, I would think he would be returned to Palm Beach for more seasoning. However, considering all that is going on around him - most importantly being that his placement on the 40-man roster means that his three minor league option seasons are starting in 2017 - I agree that Springfield is the most likely spring target.

I know the talent is there, but I hope he is fully ready.

Over the years, coaches have often raved about Sosa’s talent while also wishing he would be more fully committed all of the time. You may have sensed that tone in the comments Derek included above. The expectations are increasing as will the pressure. Ready or not, Sosa’s career is going to accelerate.

Minor league hitting coordinator George Greer is one who has asked more from Sosa and is pleased with the results to date.

“Edmundo is progressing well as a hitter,” the coach said this fall. “He has adapted to some of the changes we asked him to make. His load is nice and slow and early. He is able to meet pitches at the location at lot better. He has good bat speed and good eye-hand coordination.

“We are hoping for big things from him,” Greer concluded.

TCN Scouting Grade: 6, Risk: High (click here to review scales)

Our 2017 top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 50 countdown and nine in-depth, follow-up articles. Most of them are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation. Thank you for being a member!

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