Edmundo Sosa has grown into one of the top Shortstops in Baseball Since Trea Turner’s injury

Philadelphia Phillies’ Edmundo Sosa loses his bat as he hits during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Sunday, May 12, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Shortstop Edmundo Sosa has been a strong presence on the bench for the Philadelphia Phillies since they acquired him from the St. Louis Cardinals in 2022.

While Sosa would receive a fair share of at-bats throughout the 2023 season, his role remained one on the bench in what was a full infield for the Phillies. Sosa hit a respectable .251 average with a 93 OPS+ in 2023, indicating a slightly below-league-average season for the defensively-inclined infielder.

Moving into 2024, when the Phillies’ $300 million shortstop, Trea Turner, went onto the Injured List with a left hamstring strain, the question as to how the Phillies were going to fill the gap in their lineup was at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Whether Sosa would take a majority of the reps at shortstop or if Whit Merrifield would take second base and Bryson Stott shift over to shortstop, anything was possible.

The injury, which happened on May 3rd at home against the San Francisco Giants, came when Turner advanced from second base to home on a passed ball, scoring on the play.

Turner had been having a strong start to the 2024 season for the Phillies, batting for a .343/.392/.460 slash line over 33 games. Up until his injury, Turner cemented himself as a keystone part of the Phillies’ lineup out of the two-hole. With a six-week minimal timeline, the Phillies needed a replacement.

For Sosa, it was time to step up and earn his playing time.

Stepping Up to the Plate

Manager Rob Thomson turned to Sosa right away, starting him at shortstop for the final two games of the Giants series. The 28-year-old went 2-for-8 with one run scored and two RBI, contributing to both Phillies victories.

After getting a day off on May 6th in place of the Merrifield-Stott infield combination, Sosa’s bat began to make it clear he needed to stay in the lineup. Over the next six games (May 7th – 13th), he batted .375, scoring six runs on seven hits and five walks.

Now, 23 games have passed since the Turner injury, and Sosa has started at shortstop in 19 of those games. His glove has been a strong presence at shortstop while hitting for a strong .339 average and 1.062 OPS over the stretch.

Sosa has done so while batting in the bottom half of the Phillies’ lineup. J.T. Realmuto has primarily filled in for Turner in the two-hole of the lineup and has had a lot of success out of that position, batting .351 with a .912 OPS, kickstarting what had been a lackluster season of offense from Realmuto to that point.

Phillies sosa
ST. LOUIS, MO – JUNE 29: St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Edmundo Sosa (63) runs the bases after hitting a triple in the fifth inning during a MLB game between the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals on June 29, 2022, at Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire),

But even more so, Sosa’s offensive outpouring has made him one of the best offensive shortstops in the League since Turner’s injury. Since making his first start for Turner on May 4th, Sosa leads the League’s shortstops in OBP (.413) and triples (4). He also ranks second in wRC+ (198), second in runs scored (16), and third in batting average (.327).

That is right, Sosa has been outperforming names like Bobby Witt Jr., Gunnar Henderson, Corey Seager, and Mookie Betts.

Room for Concern for Both Sosa and Turner

While Sosa’s performance has been an incredible one since stepping in for Turner, there is room for concern: his BABIP. Sosa is currently hitting for a .450 batting average on balls in play. In other words, 44.4% of his batted balls are converting into hits. That rate is much higher than his career .323 BABIP. While it means that Sosa’s bat is hot now, some of these hits will likely start to find the opposing team’s gloves more, purely based on the law of averages.

Perhaps the playing time has spared a resurgent fire in Sosa that simply will not fade, but there is a chance that this hot streak will at some point begin to fade as well.

With recent news of Turner experiencing a small setback in his recovery process, the question on the table is a simple one: will Sosa continue to perform with the best in the league or will he start to regress towards his career numbers before Turner’s return?

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee