How Edmundo Sosa has been a ray of light in a suddenly dark Cardinals season

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Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports

DAN BUFFA, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

In case you have lived under a rock this spring, things aren’t going so well for the local baseball team. Losers of eight of their past nine games and just one loss away from a .500 record, the St. Louis Cardinals need all the help they can get right now. Enter Edmundo Sosa.

To put it simply, he’s an exciting player. It isn’t like Sosa comes to the plate for St. Louis with the team down two in the ninth and can be counted on for a big home run… he’s the spark that will at least keep the good times rolling. Not bad for a guy who signed with the team nine years ago as an international free agent right around his sixteenth birthday. After making his debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2013, Sosa finally saw MLB action in 2018 and 2019, but collected just 10 at-bats.

2021 is where the Edmundo door has been officially opened. With Paul DeJong missing significant time due to injury, the team’s need for a shortstop who could be steady suddenly went up. After riding the bench for weeks, Sosa was sprung on this weakened lineup and has already made a big dent. In 85 at-bats, he’s hitting .271 with a .374 on-base percentage. While he found that elusive first MLB home run this past week, it’s more to see him run the bases instead of merely trotting around them.

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Sosa is one of the few Cardinals with at least one triple, double, and home run to his stat sheet-but that’s not even the half of it. The six walks, 112 OPS+, and fine defense show that he offers this team more than just a resilient band-aid that lasts six weeks. While DeJong’s overall defense and pop in the middle of the lineup is resourceful, his declining average and inconsistency doesn’t have fans clamoring for his return. Sosa offers the team a little Whitey Herzog-infused attack at the plate and in the field, without commanding a big salary or exactly enormous expectations.

Since this is technically his rookie season, Sosa will hit free agency in 2027, giving St. Louis plenty of control on his future–one that could see him catch starts at second base if Tommy Edman spends more time in the outfield. Whatever happens, the one thing this team can’t do is park him back on the bench when DeJong’s health improves. A 50/50 split isn’t in order, but Mike Shildt and the coaching staff needs to get creative with Sosa to keep his talent and energy unleashed.

If they were smart, the Cardinals would treat Sosa like a different-yet still viable-version of Edman, someone who can do whatever the team needs and still remain productive. Here’s a stat to remember that won’t have you reaching for the ibuprofen: 54% of Sosa’s batted-ball contact finds baseballs being hit to center field. He’s not just pulling or poking hits to get on base; Sosa is utilizing the field like few others, finding new ways to get on base and create something for his team.

Let’s face it. The fact that Sosa is actually healthy should be a plus on a team that looks like a group of people who keep eating bad sushi rolls. The injured list is constantly packed and there’s no telling when the rotation will be strong again or if the offense can muster even three runs a night. Sosa is making one of the toughest positions in pro sports look easy while swinging a bat that doesn’t exactly lose all functionality after a single homestand.

If there’s a bright, new light on this embattled Cards team this year, it’s Sosa. With either high-priced or high-profile players dropping like flies, he’s making things happen.

Every baseball team needs an Edmundo Sosa. Thankfully, he’s just getting warmed up.