Edmundo Sosa Has Been MLB’s Best Bench Player Since Trade to Phillies

Infielder Edmundo Sosa has exceeded all expectations since he joined the Philadelphia Phillies at the 2022 trade deadline.

Edmundo Sosa of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates his two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 07: Edmundo Sosa #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates his two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on September 7, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The next time you look at any MLB leaderboards, I highly recommend playing around with the minimum playing time toggle (or whatever that tool might be called on your website of choice).

Typically, by default, you will only see players with enough plate appearances or innings pitched to qualify for rate stats. For hitters, that means 3.1 PA per team game. For pitchers, it’s 1.0 IP per team game.

The threshold for qualification exists for good reason. We can debate the exact parameters until the cows come home, but nobody will disagree that Luis Arraez (.354 AVG in 617 PA), and not Ernie Clement (.380 AVG in 52 PA), was the deserving batting champion in 2023.

Without any playing time minimums, Scott Munninghoff (1-for-1, 1.000/1.000/3.000, 4.000 OPS, 1012 wRC+) would be the greatest hitter in MLB history, while 512 different pitchers would share the all-time record with a 0.00 ERA.

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That being said, the concept of qualification is hardly an exact science. Just because a player doesn’t qualify, it doesn’t mean his stats aren’t worth our attention.

If I were only following qualified hitters, I never would have noticed David Fry and his eye-popping numbers this season. I wouldn’t have discovered how dominant LaMonte Wade Jr. and Joc Pederson have been as left-handed platoon bats.

And I wouldn’t have realized that Edmundo Sosa has quietly been the best bench player in baseball since he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies at the 2022 trade deadline.

On July 30, 2022, the Cardinals traded Sosa to the Phillies in exchange for left-handed reliever JoJo Romero. Outside of a brief stint on the injured list that fall, Sosa has been with the Phillies ever since, suiting up for the team in each of the past three seasons, including the playoffs.

Earlier this week, Sosa passed the 162-game mark in his Phillies career. However, he has not yet amassed a full, qualifying season’s worth of plate appearances. In 163 games across parts of three seasons, he has 472 plate appearances, an average of 2.9 per game.

The fact that it took Sosa so long to reach a full season’s worth of games, and the fact that he is averaging fewer than three plate appearances per contest, makes it perfectly clear that he’s a part-time player. Despite his natural skills at shortstop, he has split his time with the Phillies between short, second, third, and even the outfield. He often enters as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement and only sees regular playing time when someone ahead of him on the depth chart is injured.

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Yet, undeterred by his limited role, Sosa has put up phenomenal numbers throughout 163 games in Phillies pinstripes.

Edmundo Sosa with the Phillies (Aug. 2, 2022-Present)


Since August 2, 2022 (his first game with Philadelphia), Sosa ranks among the top 100 position players in FanGraphs WAR. More than 250 players have appeared in more games than Sosa over that span. Nearly 300 have taken more trips to the plate. Yet, only 91 have produced more value for their teams.

As you might imagine, Sosa’s rate stats are even more impressive than his counting stats. His 115 wRC+ is 15% better than the league average. His .205 isolated power is 30% better than that of the average hitter. And don’t forget, his bat is only his tertiary tool.

First and foremost, Sosa is a Gold Glove-caliber defender. He is also one of the fastest runners in the game. According to the Statcast defensive metrics, he is averaging 1 OAA every nine games. Meanwhile, FanGraphs has him among the top 10% of players (min. 400 PA) in baserunning runs (BsR) per plate appearance.

Now for the best part: Out of 342 players with at least 400 PA since August 2, 2022, Sosa ranks among the top 20 in fWAR per plate appearance. Since his Phillies debut, only 17 players have been more productive on a per-PA basis (according to FanGraphs). That’s remarkable.

Of the names ranked above him, only one, Danny Jansen, could also be considered a part-time player. None are averaging fewer than 3.0 PA per game, and only two, Jansen and fellow catcher Patrick Bailey, have averaged fewer than 4.0 PA per game.

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Overall, it is a ridiculously impressive list for Sosa to find himself a part of:

FanGraphs WAR per 650 PA Leaders (Since Aug. 2, 2022)

Aaron Judge2269934.413.99.1
Mookie Betts27212294.513.47.1
Sean Murphy1706954.17.36.9
Shohei Ohtani25311104.411.26.6
Wander Franco1375884.35.96.5
Jose Altuve2079164.49.06.4
Mike Trout1516614.46.36.2
Freddie Freeman28212624.512.06.2
Ronald Acuña Jr.26011844.611.26.2
Juan Soto27812274.411.66.1
Adley Rutschman26911914.410.95.9
Gunnar Henderson24410264.29.45.9
Patrick Bailey1354933.74.45.8
Kyle Tucker27111544.310.35.8
Corey Seager23210334.59.25.8
Danny Jansen1615773.65.05.6
Bobby Witt Jr.27712134.410.35.5
Edmundo Sosa1634722.94.05.5
William Contreras24910754.39.15.5
Francisco Lindor28312294.310.25.4
via FanGraphs

It might be even more impressive to think about some of the (many) players Sosa ranks ahead of. In addition to William Contreras and Francisco Lindor, Sosa outranks Marcus Semien, Will Smith, Yordan Alvarez, and Julio Rodríguez, just to name a few.

Before I get carried away comparing Edmundo Sosa to some of the best players in baseball, I should clarify that the numbers I’m citing don’t tell the full story.

Sosa has outperformed his xwOBA over this stretch by 22 points. His .316 xwOBA is right around league average. That’s still impressive for a talented defensive shortstop, but not nearly as impressive as his .338 wOBA.

In addition, his .330 BAPIP is likely unsustainable, and his poor plate discipline (3.4% walk rate) is a huge red flag.

Moreover, it’s not exactly fair to extrapolate his numbers over 650 PA, since Sosa has such dramatic platoon splits. As a member of the Phillies, he has an 81 wRC+ against right-handers and a 157 wRC+ against southpaws. If he were to take 650 PA in a single season, he’d have to face far more right-handed pitchers, and his offensive stats would surely plummet.

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Nonetheless, there is no denying what Sosa has accomplished during his time in Philadelphia. His numbers speak for themselves – even if they’re unsustainable and even if he only plays a part-time role. After all, no one is going to argue that Sosa is genuinely one of the top 20 position players in the game. What matters is how valuable he’s been off the bench.

Sosa also deserves credit for taking a legitimate step forward this season, even if he’s not quite as good as his .896 OPS and 153 wRC+ suggest.

His 6.2% walk rate is still poor but no longer atrocious. His walk-to-strikeout ratio (0.24) is more than double what it was in 2022 (0.10) and ’23 (0.11).

Even better, Sosa is hitting the ball much harder than ever before. He has not put enough balls in play to qualify for Baseball Savant percentiles, but his hard-hit rate, barrel rate, and xwOBA – all of which were in deep blue territory the last two seasons – are approaching dark red levels in 2024.

Sosa only has 113 PA this season, so we’d all be wise to take these numbers with a grain of salt. However, walk rate and exit velocity-related metrics stabilize much faster than most other offensive stats. Sosa really does look like a better hitter than ever before.

Trea Turner went on the injured list with a hamstring strain on May 4. It seemed like a tremendous blow to a red-hot Phillies team that had just taken over first place in the NL East.

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Yet since that day, Edmundo Sosa has played 25 games at shortstop. He is slashing .296/.360/.556 with four home runs and a 157 wRC+. He ranks third in the National League in fWAR.

The Phillies lost their All-Star shortstop, but they have not missed a beat.

Now, Sosa won’t hit like an MVP all season. He can’t keep this up forever. But he also doesn’t have to. As a bench player, his job was to fill in for Turner temporarily, and he has done admirable work.

Indeed, he has done admirable work since he joined the Phillies organization two summers back. Edmundo Sosa may not qualify for any rate stat leaderboards, but over the past two years, he has been the best bench player in baseball.

Stats and rankings as of June 6.