We all know the Chicago White Sox have been hampered by injuries all season. This team has been an insurance company’s dream with the number of injuries that have taken place. On Wednesday, Danny Mendick was the latest casualty as he suffered a torn ACL that will place him on the IL, ending his most encouraging season to date.
The end result of Mendick’s misfortune will be the arrival of Double-A infielder, Lenyn Sosa. The 22-year-old entered the season as the Sox’s No. 22 ranked prospect but has surprised analysts and scouts with a breakthrough performance with the Birmingham Barons. Sosa is slashing an impressive .331/.384/.549 with 14 home runs playing in the offense-suppressing Southern League.
Breaking The Mold
Sosa’s rise is an unexpected development for a team that has rarely shown a willingness to promote players straight from Double-A. He has simply forced their hand with his play at this point. Sosa’s defensive versatility to play second base, shortstop, and third base adds another dimension that the big-league club will need in Mendick’s absence.
Sosa’s bat will be the tool that ultimately decides his ability to stick with the Chicago White Sox long-term. Putting up a 140 wRC+ in Birmingham, where Sox hitting prospects go to die, is certainly eye-opening to say the least. It may surprise some that Sosa’s torrid season fares very well with a recent pair of more highly touted Sox prospects:
Seeing Lenyn Sosa perform on par with a pair of big-name outfield prospects in Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez certainly gives fans a ray of hope for the infielder. It can’t be stated enough the challenges of the Double-A Southern League and the Barons’ home ballpark place on positional prospects. Sosa has answered the call this year and taken his development to a new level that wasn’t anticipated coming into the season.
How well Sosa adjusts to big-league pitching will be an interesting development over the coming weeks. With this in mind, it will be important for fans to temper their enthusiasm to a degree, but the numbers above show that he is a player that has made significant developmental strides this year. Having a prospect come from relative obscurity to making his way onto the big league roster is certainly a welcomed sight for a team that has been plagued by injuries and underperformance this year.
The organization’s willingness to promote Sosa straight from Birmingham in place of a more “polished” minor leaguer like Yolbert Sanchez is pretty telling, in my opinion. Adding him to the 40-man roster ahead of Sanchez at this point would be foolish if they weren’t intent on giving him ample opportunities to continue his development at the corner of 35th/Shields.
Mainstay Or Placeholder?
Lenyn Sosa’s role going forward will be an interesting one to monitor, certainly. His rise this season gives fans and prospect evaluators a glimmer of hope that perhaps the team has developed a diamond in the rough. The Chicago White Sox signed Sosa out of the Dominican Republic in 2016 for a relatively minor signing bonus relative to other international prospects, which means his reaching the big leagues is a win already in a sense.
If he is able to establish himself as a positive contributor for a team that is in its contention window, it would certainly go a long way toward helping the club address other areas of need as the trade deadline rapidly approaches. If the Sosa is able to hold his own, he can relegate the likes of Josh Harrison and Leury Garcia to true utility status, which they are best suited for at this juncture. From a long-term perspective, if the aggressive promotion doesn’t stunt Sosa’s development, the team would be filling a black hole that has been around for far too long.
2022 wasn’t looked at as a season of prospect development for the South Siders. They are trying to win the World Series, an objective that was clearly stated entering the campaign. Thus far, the Sox haven’t lived up to the billing. But perhaps an infusion of youth and exuberance from an unexpected source like Sosa could help spark this offense. It is unfortunate that Danny Mendick’s season-ending injury was the catalyst that got Sosa to the big leagues, but he is now in a position to grab the bull by the horns and could fortify himself as a key cog in the White Sox infield for years to come.
Alternatively, he could be looked at as a trade commodity to help this team acquire proven veteran talent in a push to come back and win a division title with the greater hopes of a deep October run. In either instance, Lenyn Sosa’s performance in the coming weeks will be something to keep an eye on that most, if not all of us, didn’t see coming just a few days ago.
Follow On Tap Sports Net on social media!