Updated: Dec 16, 2018
Prospect #1: Utility IF, Edmundo Sosa
Previously Ranked 21st in preseason, 16th during July Reranking
International Signing in 2012
THE QUICK WRITE UP
After retooling his swing during the Arizona Fall League, a swing change that initially looked like it wouldn't serve him well, Sosa got off to a tough start for Springfield. It looked like more of the same from a prospect on the decline at too young of an age.
The good news was, Sosa's defense around the infield appeared to be solid. So, while his bat struggled to find it's legs, his defense helped to stabilize his game. It also showed all of those that might have doubted him (like the clown that is currently typing) that he was willing to put in the work to stabilize a potentially strong part of his game.
By the end of April, Sosa's bat was coming alive. From April 27th until his last game in Springfield on June 22nd, Sosa slashed 295/335/456/791 with six home runs and 13 doubles in 193 at-bats. His new swing had become second nature while his defense was keeping him afloat and the work was paying off.
Sosa has struggled greatly since receiving a promotion to Memphis. The good news is, he isn't striking out a ton and he's doing a good job off working counts. Of course, because he's often behind in counts and hitting from a defensive position, he isn't hitting the ball with much authority. I'll bring up the low amount of K's as a way to restate that I think his bat might come back around within the next month for Memphis with the appropriate amount of at-bats in a crowded infield situation.
WHY TO GET EXCITED
Mr. Sosa appears to be coming into his own. He showed a great deal of promise as a potential major leaguer all of the way back during the 2015 season at Johnson City. It appears that, after a few years that saw his stock creep in the wrong direction, Sosa has taken a step forward.
This is mostly because of a swing change that he started to incorporate at the end of the 2017 season. He really worked on it during his time in the Arizona Fall League. It took him a second to really get his feet underneath him this season, but he's really taken off with extra base potential as the season has progressed.
Sosa's ball really travels to the opposite field. As my friend Colin Garner over at Cardinals Conclave would tell you, it's crazy how many of his hits find the opposite field gap.
Sosa's defense at three different positions is, at least, average with flashes of something more. He's pretty sure-handed with the balls that are hit to him and he has good range.
He has a good arm.
Sosa has really cleaned up his approach at the plate. His K rate has dropped steadily all season and it's much more palatable than it was at this time last season
His home run power has really spiked.
It appears that Sosa is en route for a 30+ doubles season. I love to see that.
He's on the 40-man roster. That doesn't really matter to me, but it's a big positive in his pursuit of a major league debut.
WHY TO BE CAUTIOUS
Sosa's approach is as good as it's ever been at the plate, and he is making more contact than he has ever made at the plate. Most of that contact is hard, too. However, Sosa is walking less than 4.5% of the time on the season and that's not good. His at-bats in Memphis have been limited so those aren't a fair indication of how pitchers at the next level will attach him and how he'll be able to handle that attack, but I'd be willing to get that his inability to walk is really going to hurt him moving forward.
I honestly do not know which position Sosa profiles best at. It doesn't really matter when you are capable of playing a couple of different positions decently, but I really cannot tell which position he is best suited for. That's because...
While Sosa is a relatively sure fielder that is capable of making some outstanding plays, he's also capable of being lost in the field. He's 22-years-old and he's already in Memphis and I think that his defense will level out, but it isn't always peaches and cream for him, defensively.
Because of the roller-coaster nature of his career so far, it'd be nice to have a little bit more time to evaluate Sosa. I'd like to see another 200 at-bats in the Memphis lineup with that new swing before feeling like I have an idea of what he's truly capable of.
Right now, it's very hard to get a feel for Sosa. His future was so promising just three season ago. The last two seasons leading into 2018 were so deflating. Usually I take this time to give a fancy and weirdly-worded comparison of hope for a crazy unrealistic ceiling, but I think I'm just going to stick with what the most likely outcome is for Sosa. Staying on this track, Sosa's offensive output will look a little something like Aledmys Diaz' 162 averages but with better defense around the diamond.
Thanks to Fangraphs for the stats.
Thanks For Reading!!