As is tradition around these parts after the season is over, we’re taking a look at every player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals this season. That’ll range from someone that didn’t record an out to someone that played almost every inning. Treat it like they are stopping by the manager’s office (umm, also imagine this was before the managerial change) on their way home for the winter for a performance review. Stats listed are ones generated during their time with the Cards and the grade is based not only on their performance but on the expectations for them going into the season. As he has the past few years, the legend that is cardinalsgifs has provided our excellent header image!
Player: Edmundo Sosa
Season stats: 113 G, 326 PA, 39 R, 8 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 4 SB, 4 CS, 17 BB, 63 K, .271/.346/.389, 106 OPS+, 3.2 bWAR, 1.6 fWAR
Statcast: .325 xwOBA, 3.9 barrel %, 86.7 exit velocity, 32.0 hard hit %, 19.3 K %, 5.2 BB %
Best Statcast category: Sprint Speed (98th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Outs Above Average (92nd percentile)
Hero/Goat: Hero 2, Goat 4
Positives: Went from being in danger of being waived in spring training to starting shortstop by September….set career highs in everything because he only had 13 plate appearances before 2021….started a remarkable double play in extra innings against the Cubs, turning a first and third no out situation to a runner on first with two outs….brought flash to the shortstop position even if the metrics said he and Paul DeJong were fairly close….apparently inherited the Jon Jay Ball Magnet, as he was hit 17 times during the season….one of those HBP was in the head, but he wound up staying in the game….had a four hit game against the Pirates on August 28th and had four other three hit games….hit .288 with five of his home runs against righties….had a .766 OPS at Busch….slashed .293/.365/.450 in the second half….had a torrid August, hitting .364 with an OPS over 1.000….put up an .838 OPS in games the Cardinals won….hit .333 in the eight hole….hit .407 with a 1.117 OPS on the first pitch….posted a .933 OPS when the count was even….hit .308 with one out….had a .908 OPS in the ninth inning….hit .297 off of starting pitchers but four of his homers came off of relievers.
Negatives: Left-handers held him to a .217 average….hit .188 with a .493 OPS in July….was three for 14 as a pinch-hitter….hit .232 while playing second….had a .511 OPS when he led off an inning….posted a .568 OPS when the pitcher was ahead in the count….had a .212 average with two outs and runners in scoring position….all six of his homers came in low leverage situations….had a .537 OPS in the eighth inning….hit .219 against the Brewers, but one of his homers came against them.
Overview: Sosa really wasn’t in danger of losing his roster spot in the spring no matter how much some parts of the fan base wanted to let him go for John Nogowski or Jose Rondon because the Cardinals aren’t in the habit of tossing away home grown talent that easily. It turned out to be a very good decision because, with Paul DeJong struggling, Sosa stepped up and turned the shortstop position from a huge hole to a solid positive. His August might be overshadowing a few flaws–it seems like he was up one month and down another–and it could be that he won’t hit those heights again with the book out on him, but it’s also in line with what the Cards thought they had in him and why they kept him around for so long, hoping he’d develop.
Outlook: Next year is going to be really interesting for Sosa. Reports are that the club is telling others that DeJong will be the starter and, with many of the big name shortstops off the market already, the position would seem to come down to these two (unless Trevor Story falls in their laps, which is still possible I guess). The club really seems to be banking on a return to form by DeJong, even though that goes against a pretty long standing trend line. Will Sosa get enough play to push for the starting spot again? Or at least, if they do start with DeJong, will the transition happen quicker this year if necessary? For such a breakout year for the young man, he’s got a lot of clouds and questions on the horizon.