One of the fastest moving prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system is shortstop Andrew Sohn. After entering the season with just 11 professional games under his belt. Many wondered how the young infielder would handle an increased workload, but this concern was moot as Sohn kept getting better as his role got bigger.
Despite his quick rise through the system Sohn faced some early season adversity with consistency at the plate. Only batting .214 with a .291 OBP in the first half of the Midwest League season wasn’t quite the start Sohn envisioned when the season began in April.
Quickly turning things around in the second half of play, Sohn carried a .315/.362/.389 slash line throughout his second half in Peoria. The impressive play earned him a bump up to the high-A Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League.
Sohn would register three FSL hits before the organization made another move with the former Western Michigan Bronco standout. Promoting the 22-year-old prospect to the AA Springfield Cardinals was a nice way to wrap up his season.
Picking up two hits in four at-bats in AA ball was an unexpected, but welcomed moment for the up-and-coming star.
Sporting a .244/.310/.322 slash line combined for the three levels, Sohn registered 72 hits, which included: 12 doubles, a triple, and three home runs. But his production didn’t end there as Sohn did an excellent job on the base paths all season. Successfully stealing 21 bases on 27 attempts and scoring 41 runs were both promising signs for the prospect.
With 2015 being his first extensive look at professional pitching Sohn has clearly seen a difference between the caliber of arms you see in pro ball compared to the college game.
“The biggest transition between college baseball to professional baseball is definitely the pitching,” explained Sohn. “The pitchers in pro ball are more disciplined. They throw multiple pitches for strikes. You really need an approach when going up to the plate. Once you get that down you can wait for your pitch and drive it. That’s what I’ve been trying to do since becoming a professional.”
But the increased command of the off-speed pitches hasn’t fazed the up-and-coming star as he admits that he’s always been able to handle any situation at the plate.
“I’ve always felt comfortable hitting the off-speed,” said Sohn. “I really haven’t had to make any adjustments to the pitches in that sense. The biggest difference is knowing that the pitchers are going to throw them for strikes more often. I have to remember that they can get me out at any time.”
Taking a different approach with Sohn defensively this past season the Cardinals transitioned the prospect into more of a utility player role by having him play games at second base, third base, and in the outfield as needed.
Trying to make this adjustment as easy as possible the organization began by moving Sohn to the other side of the bag. Seeing some similarities and differences playing second, the prospect discusses what he thought of his new role.
“The transition from shortstop to second was a little awkward at first but I’m getting used to it,” stated Sohn. “It’s still up the middle. You’re making a lot of the same jumps just from a different angle. Everything else is pretty similar. I’m still working on turns at the bag and the footwork associated with the position.”
Playing second seemed to work well for Sohn as he maintained a .964 fielding percentage there in 24 games. Logging 209.1 innings in his new role, Sohn took part in nine double plays and assisted on another 63.
The natural shortstop had a .923 fielding percentage in 288 innings at his normal position during the season. It’s obvious the transition has worked out well in the early stages and will prove to be beneficial for both Sohn and the organization moving forward.
Also getting some time at third base proved to be a little more challenging as expected with the long throw across the diamond. Committing four errors in 31 chances wasn’t the best way to start out, but the added skillset will prove to be helpful in the future as Sohn will have the ability to be penciled in at third as needed.
With the minor league season in the books Sohn can finally reflect on all the changes he made during 2015. While he’ll enjoy a little down time it won’t last long as he has a busy off-season routine he wants to follow to get bigger, stronger, and faster.
“In the off-season I run and workout,” stated Sohn. “I’ll probably take a month off after the season. After that I’ll work my way up. I lift four days a week during the off-season. I also run a lot. You know as a player what you need to do to stay in shape.”
Be sure to follow Andrew Sohn as he continues to develop at his new positions during the 2016 season and for years to come.