Scouting Twin Prospect #17: Oswaldo Sosa

The Twins signed Oswaldo Sosa out of Venezuela in 2002, and since then, he has turned himself into one of the better pitching prospects in the Twins organization. The young right-hander should get his first taste of Double-A ball in 2007, and after a 20-win season in 2006, will likely have a successful season for the Rock Cats. Here is our 17th ranked prospect:

Vital Statistics:
Name: Oswaldo Sosa
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: September 19, 1985
Height: 6'4''
Weight: 225
Throws: Right

Oswaldo Sosa has turned himself into quite the pitching prospect over the past couple of seasons, and is now someone who the Twins could be a front of the rotation starter in the future. Armed with a good fastball and serviceable off-speed stuff, Sosa has baffled hitters during his time in the Minor Leagues, and appears poised for Double-A in 2007.

The Twins signed Sosa out of Venezuela in 2002 as a skinny kid with not much gas on his fastball. Since joining the Twins, Sosa has put on almost 40 pounds, and is almost three inches taller. The rise in weight has meant a rise in his fastball, and he is now becoming a complete pitcher. After signing, Sosa was assigned to Tronconero of the VSL, where he made ten starts, and posted a 3.01 earned run average.

In 2004, Sosa was placed on the Twins Gulf Coast League team, where he made eight appearances. He worked from both the bullpen, and the rotation, and put together a nice 2.20 earned run average. He struck out better than a batter per inning, and walked only four.

During the 2005 season, Sosa was a member of the Elizabethton Twins' Appalachian League championship team, serving as one of the team's starters. Though he had a bloated 4.95 earned run average, Sosa was a cog in the Twins rotation, and helped bolster one of the better pitching staffs in the Apply League.

This past season was a complete success for Sosa, who began the year in the Midwest League with the Beloit Snappers. The young right-hander made 20 starts for the Snappers, and was clearly one of the better starting pitchers in the league. Aside from earning MWL All-Star Game honors, Sosa posted a 2.75 earned run average, and won a career-best nine games. He was promptly promoted to Fort Myers.

For the Miracle, Sosa continued to shine. He made six starts in the Florida State League, winning four games, while notching a 2.08 earned run average. In 35 innings of work, Sosa held the opposition to a .198 batting average, and allowed only one home run. With a good spring, Sosa could start the 2007 season in New Britain.

Repertoire: 4-seam Fastball, 2-seam Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastballs: Sosa throws both a four-seamer, and a two-seamer, though his two-seamer is vastly superior. He has gained six notches on his heaters since coming into the Twins organization, and while his fastball is 94 miles per hour, as opposed to 92 on his two-seamer, the two-seamer has great sinking action. When he came into the Twins organization, Sosa was only throwing in the low-to-mid eighties, so his jump in velocity is a welcome surprise. His fastballs are definitely his outpitches, and he uses them in pretty much any situation.

Other Pitches: Sosa has decent off-speed stuff, but he definitely needs some more work on them. His slider could wind up being a serviceable Major League pitch, but he lacks consistency when he throws it. He is still fairly young, and should have time to develop a pretty decent curveball. He throws two very good fastballs, so if he can mix in the off-speed stuff better and more consistently, then he should be more of a front of the rotation starter.

Pitching: Sosa is an innings eater, and is someone who loves to take the ball every fifth day. He has been a constant in rotations for the past two seasons, and he is the kind of pitcher who loves to challenge hitters. He has really developed into a top starter during the past few seasons, and that is mostly due to his work in the gym, and his need to be the best. When he is on, Sosa is very tough to touch.

Projection: Sosa projects as a starter, though he has had a few occasions where he has come out of the bullpen. He has the look, and the stuff to be a starter, and he has had success at every level that he has pitched at thus far as a starter. He has a classic five-pitch repertoire, and the more he continues to develop his off-speed stuff, the better he is going to be in the long run. He can pitch against right-handers, or left-handers, and has that starter mentality. Not only does he project as a starter, but he projects as a front of the rotation guy.

ETA. 2008 Sosa should be in Minnesota by 2008, though Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made him a dark horse to make the Twins rotation out of Spring Training in 2007. The likelihood is that he will begin the 2007 season in New Britain, as he gets his first taste of Double-A ball. He should be in Rochester by the end of the season, and with Francisco Liriano returning to the Twins roster in 2008, Sosa could have trouble cracking the rotation. However, if some of the younger starters falter for the Twins this season, then it would not be surprising to see Sosa get a shot at he big time.

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