Former SF Giants pitching prospect Henry Sosa signed with the club as an 18-year-old in 2004 out of the Dominican Republic. 20 years later and nearly 15 years after a 2011 trade, he is still continuing a pro career that has had surprising longevity.
Former SF Giants pitching prospect continues playing career years after 2011 trade
Sosa had been one of the better prospects in baseball, ranking as high as No. 84 according to Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2008 season. He was minor league teammates with some Giants legends such as Madison Bumgarner and Pablo Sandoval with Augusta and San Jose, respectively, in 2008.
By the time 2011 rolled around, the right-handed pitcher's prospect shine had faded. Plus, the Giants had Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, and Matt Cain firmly entrenched as the rotation's workhorses for the foreseeable future.
There was not a need for another pitcher. Of course, the Giants had a huge need for multiple bats. Both Bustery Posey and Freddy Sánchez missed much of the 2011 season due to injuries. There was not much help on the trade market for catchers, but there were some infielders that made sense.
Before that year's trade deadline, the Giants tried out veteran utility player Bill Hall, but pulled the plug on that experiment after just 41 plate appearances. They tried to add some extra offense into the lineup by trading for veteran infielder Jeff Keppinger, sending both Sosa and minor league pitcher Jason Stoffel to the Houston Astros. Keppinger struggled to the tune of a .618 OPS down the stretch, but had a quality career up until that point.
On the other hand, Sosa finally got his chance to pitch in the majors, seven years after signing his first contract. He tallied a 5.23 ERA, 4.77 FIP, 1.44 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, and a 1.65 SO/W ratio in 53.1 innings with Houston that season.
The righty pitcher had just completed his age-25 season, so there was plenty of reason to believe that he had some development remaining. However, that next major league opportunity never came as he was released by the Astros early in the following season. He did latch on briefly with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2014, but he has been pitching in non-affiliated ball for the better part of a decade.
This included an eight-year stint in the KBO where he recorded a 77-63 record with a 4.28 ERA in 210 appearances while working primarily out of the rotation. In recent years, he has pitched for the Chinese Professional Baseball League, the Mexican League, and the Atlantic League during the regular season.
Sosa recorded a 5.53 ERA in five starts for the Spire City Ghost Hounds of the Atlantic League in 2023. The Ghost Hounds are managed by former Giants minor leaguer Mark Minicozzi, who had a strong spring training performance one year.
In the offseason, Sosa has often been a participant in the Dominican Winter League and this winter is no different. He has allowed just three earned runs in 18.2 innings for the Toros del Este. The veteran pitcher, who will be entering his age-38 season this year and with over 2,400 innings under his belt since inking his first deal, continues a playing career that seemingly ended nearly 15 years ago, but he keeps landing new opportunities. It is an incredible display of longevity that deserves more attention in the baseball world.