One of the toughest challenges for a young athlete is recovering from a serious injury, and even though you never want to see a player suffer an injury that will keep them out of action for an extended period of time, it’s part of the game. When the player returns, you can only hope they are the same.
St. Louis Cardinals fans are hoping that’s the case for shortstop prospect Andrew Sohn, who was sensational in the 11 games he appeared in last season for the State College Spikes. Carrying an impressive .324/.405/.486 slash line in his 37 professional at-bats, and an excellent .979 fielding percentage in 47 chances at short. It was tough for Cardinals’ fans to see Sohn’s season cut short due to a UCL injury he suffered in his throwing arm.
Fans will be happy to know that Sohn has made a full recovery this off-season and will join the rest of the Cardinals’ minor leaguers on March 9th when they report to spring training in Jupiter, Florida. The young prospect credits his quick recovery on the rehab and rest he was able to get this off-season, as well as knowing what to do to speed up his recovery time, as he had a similar event happen to him in high school.
“Unfortunately I partially tore my UCL halfway through last season, but I’m 100% now. The rehab went smoothly and the rest really helped,” explained Sohn. “I worked really hard to come back just as good if not better than I was before the injury. Also, severely breaking my leg in a baseball game in my junior year of high school and rehabbing through that made me very comfortable that I can come back from any injury that I endure.”
Next month will be Sohn’s first trip to Jupiter to compete for a promotion prior to the 2015 season. Even though the process will all be new to him, the Michigan native feels he will be well prepared due to the work he put in this off-season to stay on top of his game.
“I have done a lot to stay in shape this off-season from working out and conditioning to doing infield drills and hitting every day,” said Sohn. “I want to go into spring training knowing I’m in the best shape of my life leaving nothing to question.”
“Everyone wants to do well once they get to spring training and I am no different,” he added. “I’m just going to go down there and work hard to try to stand out, while learning a lot from the coaches and other players.”
Prior to beginning his professional career, Sohn spent three seasons at Western Michigan University. The young prospect wasn’t highly touted out of high school, so his experience as a Bronco really helped him jump on scouts’ radars.
Appearing in 146 games at the NCAA level, Sohn carried a .307/.377/.388 career slash line. The shortstop registered 162 hits, which included: 18 doubles, eight triples, and three home runs. The 21-year old also had an equal split between runs and RBIswith 76 a piece respectably.
Sohn’s excellent offensive numbers comes from his plate discipline. Like many middle infielders, he understands his role is not to be a big power guy, but more a player who grinds out at-bats and executes different hitting concepts to help his team score runs and win games.
“I definitely pride myself on my plate discipline,” stated Sohn. “Being a middle infielder you’re not always relied upon to be a big power hitter that drives in 100 runs a season, so you need to really focus on getting every job done, whether it be bunting a runner over, or executing a hit and run. With that being said I still expect myself to be an above-average hitter that can also drive in runs.”
Despite his great offensive ability, Sohn puts a greater emphasis on his defensive ability. If given a choice between a highlight reel caliber defensive play, or a clutch hit, Sohn will pick the defensive play every time. His dedication to defense showed in his first professional season, as he committed only one error in his 47 chances. What’s even more impressive is Sohn’s 30 assists, and five double plays he took part in, while maintaining a respectable 4.18 RF/G.
“I heavily pride myself fielding wise, being a shortstop you have to,” said Sohn. “Being at the position I am, a lot of people look at whether you are good defensively before offensively, so I pride myself in being consistent and making all the routine plays. Playing shortstop is a ton of fun; you’re always in the action. I would rather make an amazing defensive play than hit a home run any day.”
Be sure to follow Andrew Sohn as he continues to be an excellent all-around player for one of the St. Louis Cardinals minor league affiliates in 2015.