All that separates Edmundo Sosa from being all he can be is about another 1,000 at-bats.
The Cardinals' No. 6 prospect homered twice as Rookie-level Johnson City defeated Princeton, 3-1, on Tuesday.
Sosa finished 2-for-3 with a pair of walks. The 19-year-old shortstop opened the visitors' half of the sixth inning with a solo homer over the left-field wall of Pioneer Park to tie the game, 1-1. With the Cardinals holding a 2-1 lead an inning later, Sosa replicated the feat, this time with two outs.
"He had hit a home run earlier to tie the game," hitting coach George Greer said of the second shot. "Sosa was very patient, took a couple of pitches. Sat on the fastball, put a great swing on the fastball, nice and short, quick to the ball, all the things hitting coaches love to see. It was a great piece of hitting."
The Panama native now has homered five times over his last five games, driving in six runs during that stretch.
"He's very strong," Greer said. "He's got a quick bat. Power is the last thing to come in a young hitter. He's starting to mature as a hitter, as far as getting his pitch is concerned. He's starting to attack the fastball and hit the head on the breaking pitch when the situation presents itself."
Sosa has overcome a slow start in which he batted .233 through his first seven games for the Cardinals to raise his average to .309. He is currently tied for sixth in the Appalachian League with seven homers and ranks ninth with an .867 OPS.
"It's a maturity factor," Greer said. "He's starting to turn the corner. Like any hitter, you don't want them to regress. So we accentuate the positives and go from there."
The coach feels that, as with any player as young as Sosa, all he needs is experience to continue to develop as a hitter.
"He needs at-bats and he needs to see different kinds of pitching," he said. "He needs to see different movements, different arm angles, all those things that hitters can experience in about 1,500 at-bats in the Minor Leagues."
Hunter Newman doubled home Magneuris Sierra with the go-ahead run in the sixth.
Josh Wirsu (2-5) earned the win after allowing a run on four hits while fanning six and walking one over 6 2/3 innings. Jhonatan Escudero set down the final seven batters, two via the strikeout, to earn his first save.
Astros starter Edgardo Sandoval gave up two hits while striking out three and issuing two walks over five innings, but did not figure into the decision.