Though we name players of the year for the rookie-level Dominican Summer League the same as with all levels of play in the St. Louis Cardinals system, to be honest, those teenagers are considered a bit differently. They are still far away from the US in age and ability, and for that reason, rarely compete for our annual cross-system rookie awards.
After all, there are a lot of question marks. The DSL competition is uneven, there is simply too much road remaining ahead of these players, topped off by the fact that we have no opportunity to actually see them play.
The latter is not the case for shortstop Edmundo Sosa, however. Though the 17-year-old competed in the DSL all summer long, the fall 2012 signee (for a $425,000 bonus), already knows his way around the Cardinals complex in Jupiter, Fla. The Panamanian native was brought to the US both for extended spring training and fall instructional league. That says a lot about how the Cardinals feel about a player with so little professional experience.
One person who has seen our 2013 DSL Cardinals Player of the Year compete regularly is Cardinals director of international operations Moises Rodriguez.
“Edmundo Sosa was tremendous,” Rodriguez exclaimed. “He played good defense and got better defensively as the year went on. He has a pretty good understanding of the strike zone for a 17-year-old. When you watch his at-bats, he looks a little more polished than a lot of the DSL kids you seen down there."
In addition to being the DSL Cardinals’ lone offensive league All-Star, the right-handed swinger was a .300 hitter, finishing at .314. That is an accomplishment at any level, but even more so in the pitching-dominant DSL, where the average hitter batted 78 points lower, just .236.
Sosa led his club with 27 RBI and impressively walked (22) more often than he struck out (15) in 169 at-bats.
To be among the 27 rookie hitters under consideration for this award, a player needed 100 at-bats. From that group, Sosa was first in batting average, second in on-base percentage (.396), second in slugging (.450) and first in OPS (.846). His 27 RBI tied for second in this rookie class.
“Sosa flashed some power," the international director noted. "He hit some balls in the gaps – the opposite field side and the pull side. You just sit there and say, ‘Wow! Where did that come from?”, because he is not a big guy. He is a 6-footer, about 180 pounds. He has gotten a little stronger over the last year”.
Rodriguez wants to make sure we remember Sosa, though the shortstop’s results in the future may capture our attention, anyway.
“We should get used to hearing his name as he is going to be a pretty good prospect for us in the near future,” Rodriguez concluded.
I would not be surprised to see Sosa in the mix for a job at Johnson City in 2014, though the middle infield competition with 2013 draftees should be stiff. A stint in the Gulf Coast League instead would still be a nice step forward for a young man who will not turn 18 until March.
Congratulations to Edmundo Sosa, The Cardinal Nation Minor League Rookie Player of the Year for 2013.
Note: For more information on all The Cardinal Nation minor league award winners for 2013, subscribers should click on this link. You will be taken to an index page with links to all articles about previous winners across the system club by club, schedule for upcoming award announcements as well as 2013 team recaps.
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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