Sosa Still Growing

Eduardo Sosa, signed by the Yankees out of Venezuela back in 2007, showed promise within the organization with a strong showing in the Dominican Summer League back in 2008, but a poor campaign in the Gulf Coast League, where he hit just .200, as well as the emergence of fellow center fielder Slade Heathcott has him overshadowed in 2010.

Today he is playing for the Staten Island Yankees and has already made enough improvement to make 2009 look like a fluke. But at the age of 19, the youngest player on the Baby Bombers still has a long way to go.

"He's young, but he's got tools," said the Staten Island Yankees manager Josh Paul. "Just like everyone else he's got a lot to learn. His age doesn't matter, he's at the same level as everyone else. He's working hard and he's growing."

The most important aspect of his growth is adjusting to the next level and feeling good going out there every day.

"It's way different than Tampa," Sosa said with the help of an interpreter, teammate Luis Parache. "The pitchers are a little bit harder, more is expected of you. I like it here though, the stadium, the fans, the game is a lot more exciting."

Sosa joked that even though he likes Staten Island, he doesn't hope to stay there too long. To move up he's going to need to work on his hitting. The main thing the Yankees are focused on now is working on his approach at the plate and maybe not worry so much about hitting for power.

"He's got to get off the pop and start being a little more consistent during his at-bats," explained Staten Island hitting coach Ty Hawkins. "He's going to be a leadoff guy so he's got to get on base and learn to work counts.

"Right now we're working with him to look for certain pitches and really narrow down his zone at the plate."

Sosa can be very aggressive when he's at bat. In a game against Hudson Valley recently he swung at almost every pitch when he struck out three times in one game. In a weekend series against Brooklyn though, he showed patience at the plate by walking four times in three games.

"Yes, he can be very aggressive at times," Hawkins said. "But other times you'll see he'll layoff more pitches and that's a good thing. He tends to look for pitches inside more often and when he gets that pitch outside that he feels he can't hit as well, you'll see him layoff. That's promising."

On top of working with Sosa on pitch recognition, the Yankees are also trying to get him to cut-down on his swing more and focus more on being a leadoff hitter.

"He's that type of hitter (leadoff)," Paul said. "So we try to talk to him about that a lot. He's got to shorten his swing a little bit. Once that happens he'll be much more of a treat out there."

It seems like the Yankees want him to worry less about his power and focus just one seeing pitches better and shortening his swing. Sosa though, thinks power can be a big part of his game.

"I want to keep growing to develop power," Sosa said. "I've been working hard to gain weight. In Tampa I was 177, but right now I'm more like 187."

Sosa isn't fighting the Yankees though as the conversation eventually turns back to being selective at the plate and doing the small ball things that a leadoff hitter is supposed to do.

"Every time I swing I look for pitches in my power zone," Sosa said. "If it's not there I try to lay off those pitches.

"I've been trying to work on bunting also," he said with a laugh. "I haven't bunted in a single game this season, but it is something I am constantly working on in practice."

Away from the plate the rest of Sosa's tools are strong. He's got great speed which allows him to cover an exceptional amount of ground in center field which makes up for, in his manager's words, an average arm. He also steals a decent amount of bases.

He compares to a former Staten Island Yankee, Brett Gardner. He is two years younger than Gardner was at this level, but walks at a similar rate as Gardner did here. He also has a slightly higher slugging percentage than Gardner did while with the Baby Bombers.

When talking with Sosa you get the feeling that he would love nothing more than to really develop his power, but if he just improved his hitting and stayed on a similar path that Gardner has taken then the Yankees would probably take it. He's still got a long way to go.

"Like I said, this is rookie ball, he's still got a lot to learn," said Paul. "At this level we're not putting polish on him, he's still learning the fundamentals. He hasn't grown into what he's going to be yet."

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\r\n \r\n\r\nToday he is playing for the Staten Island Yankees and has already made enough improvement to make 2009 look like a fluke. But at the age of 19, the youngest player on the Baby Bombers still has a long way to go.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's young, but he's got tools,\" said the Staten Island Yankees manager Josh Paul. \"Just like everyone else he's got a lot to learn. His age doesn't matter, he's at the same level as everyone else. He's working hard and he's growing.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe most important aspect of his growth is adjusting to the next level and feeling good going out there every day.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's way different than Tampa,\" Sosa said with the help of an interpreter, teammate Luis Parache. \"The pitchers are a little bit harder, more is expected of you. I like it here though, the stadium, the fans, the game is a lot more exciting.\"
\r\n
\r\nSosa joked that even though he likes Staten Island, he doesn't hope to stay there too long. To move up he's going to need to work on his hitting. The main thing the Yankees are focused on now is working on his approach at the plate and maybe not worry so much about hitting for power.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got to get off the pop and start being a little more consistent during his at-bats,\" explained Staten Island hitting coach Ty Hawkins. \"He's going to be a leadoff guy so he's got to get on base and learn to work counts.
\r\n
\r\n\"Right now we're working with him to look for certain pitches and really narrow down his zone at the plate.\"
\r\n
\r\nSosa can be very aggressive when he's at bat. In a game against Hudson Valley recently he swung at almost every pitch when he struck out three times in one game. In a weekend series against Brooklyn though, he showed patience at the plate by walking four times in three games.
\r\n
\r\n\"Yes, he can be very aggressive at times,\" Hawkins said. \"But other times you'll see he'll layoff more pitches and that's a good thing. He tends to look for pitches inside more often and when he gets that pitch outside that he feels he can't hit as well, you'll see him layoff. That's promising.\"
\r\n
\r\nOn top of working with Sosa on pitch recognition, the Yankees are also trying to get him to cut-down on his swing more and focus more on being a leadoff hitter.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's that type of hitter (leadoff),\" Paul said. \"So we try to talk to him about that a lot. He's got to shorten his swing a little bit. Once that happens he'll be much more of a treat out there.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt seems like the Yankees want him to worry less about his power and focus just one seeing pitches better and shortening his swing. Sosa though, thinks power can be a big part of his game.
\r\n
\r\n\"I want to keep growing to develop power,\" Sosa said. \"I've been working hard to gain weight. In Tampa I was 177, but right now I'm more like 187.\"
\r\n
\r\nSosa isn't fighting the Yankees though as the conversation eventually turns back to being selective at the plate and doing the small ball things that a leadoff hitter is supposed to do.
\r\n
\r\n\"Every time I swing I look for pitches in my power zone,\" Sosa said. \"If it's not there I try to lay off those pitches.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been trying to work on bunting also,\" he said with a laugh. \"I haven't bunted in a single game this season, but it is something I am constantly working on in practice.\"
\r\n
\r\nAway from the plate the rest of Sosa's tools are strong. He's got great speed which allows him to cover an exceptional amount of ground in center field which makes up for, in his manager's words, an average arm. He also steals a decent amount of bases.
\r\n
\r\nHe compares to a former Staten Island Yankee, Brett Gardner. He is two years younger than Gardner was at this level, but walks at a similar rate as Gardner did here. He also has a slightly higher slugging percentage than Gardner did while with the Baby Bombers.
\r\n
\r\nWhen talking with Sosa you get the feeling that he would love nothing more than to really develop his power, but if he just improved his hitting and stayed on a similar path that Gardner has taken then the Yankees would probably take it. He's still got a long way to go.
\r\n
\r\n\"Like I said, this is rookie ball, he's still got a lot to learn,\" said Paul. \"At this level we're not putting polish on him, he's still learning the fundamentals. He hasn't grown into what he's going to be yet.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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