Luis Sardinas: Best SS You’ve Never Heard Of

In heading to Greenville, South Carolina for an early September pair to see the Hickory Crawdads (Rangers), no prospect interested me more than shortstop Luis Sardinas. A few days earlier, a contact had filled me in that Sardinas was “special” and “had tools like Jurickson Profar“. Having traveled to “The Palmetto State” just fourteen months earlier to watch the aforementioned Profar, my expectations for Sardinas were extremely high considering the Rangers organization is known for being a shortstop factory.

Video after the jump

After signing for a 1.2 million signing bonus out of Venezuela, the teenage shortstop combined for only 40 games and 179 plate appearances in 2010-2011 due to injury. In terms of health, Sardinas’ 2012 was a resounding success even though he logged less than 100 games total over the entire minor league season. His success in full season baseball has led to an aggressive assignment to the Arizona Fall League where he’ll have an opportunity to make up for a bit of lost development time. At 19 and without significant minor league experience under his belt, many were surprised Sardinas was tabbed for the Surprise Saguaros. But if my late season looks were any indication, Sardinas is unlikely to be overwhelmed by the level of competition.

On the playing field, Sardinas was the best defensive shortstop I’ve seen this season. In making a couple of extremely difficult plays to his back hand side, Sardinas displayed the combination of elite range and graceful body control rarely seen in teenage shortstops. On one such play, Sardinas was cheating up the middle on contact, reversed course, ranged into the six hole and fired a strike to second base for a force out. On another batted ball, Sardinas made the play deep in the 5/6 hole, slipped on a soft infield, but still almost pulled off a tremendous play. For me, making plays deep in the hole is the mark of a future big league shortstop. Not only did Sardinas show the ability to make those plays, he made them look routine.

At the plate, Sardinas displayed quick hands and surprising pop for his frame. And while many young switch hitters are significantly better from one side or another, the Rangers prospect showed equal strength from both sides which is reflected in his splits. What eluded Sardinas at the plate consistent balance which led to his lunging at pitches quite a bit. When he was able to stay back, he drove a long home run to left-centerfield flashing power which could blossom into double-digit home run totals with better balance at the point of contact. If his splits by half are any indication (.608 OPS vs. .802 OPS), Sardinas is a quick study and may already be starting to figure it out.

With a 78% stolen base rate, Sardinas is still growing into his in game speed. With multiple 4.05 home-to-first times pulled from video from the left side, he’s a 65 runner on the 20/80 scale. With a lean frame, Sardinas is unlikely to lose his present speed and may even become more explosive as he matures physically and adds strength.

In about a month, I’ll be posting a piece on the best prospects I saw in person this season. Without question, Sardinas will occupy a prominent ranking on that list among Jean Segura, Trevor Story and Carlos Correa. It will never happen due to name recognition, but Sardinas should be considered for the back end of top-100 rankings this off-season. By the end of 2013, he may be in Double-A with a shot at Texas sometime in 2014. Of course this hinges upon his being healthy which is obviously a question mark, but Sardinas has the combination of tools and skills to move quickly through the system.



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Mike Newman is the Owner/Managing Editor ofROTOscouting, a subscription site focused on baseball scouting, baseball prospects and fantasy baseball. Follow me onTwitter. Likeus on Facebook.Subscribeto my YouTube Channel.


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Dees
Guest
Dees
4 years 20 minutes ago

“Surprising pop” = sub 80 ISO.

Robert D
Guest
Robert D
4 years 19 minutes ago

Saguaros*

Dan
Guest
Dan
4 years 5 minutes ago

When I saw the teaser for this in chat I was hoping this would be about Hanser Alberto. Have you seen/have any thoughts on him?

wily mo
Member
3 years 11 months ago

i was hoping for leury garcia

wily mo
Member
3 years 11 months ago

no, sure, wasn’t taking any position on leury vs. sardinas – just going off the information you gave out at the end of the chat yesterday, that you were going to write up “a rangers SS not profar” today, i was hoping for leury just ‘cuz i own him in my fake league thing – knowing it probably wouldn’t really be him of course. so i’m just talkin’, basically

Radivel
Guest
Radivel
3 years 11 months ago

Man, the Rangers sure know how to get a SS. Sardinas is quite a catch! Let’s hope there’s nothing fishy about him.

reillocity
Guest
reillocity
3 years 11 months ago

So considering that I have heard of Sardinas, who would be your next guess as to the best shortstop I haven’t heard of?

This guy
Guest
This guy
3 years 11 months ago

When making a snarky comment, it’s important to first make sure you know how the “reply” function works.

reillocity
Guest
reillocity
3 years 11 months ago

So it seems I snarkily worded a comment that wasn’t intended to be a snarky comment. Who is another under-the-radar shortstop that you’ve seen but don’t see talked about much if any, Mike?

reillocity
Guest
reillocity
3 years 11 months ago

Thanks, Mike. Yeah, that’s exactly the kind of guy who I was expecting in a reply. He’s new to me at least. Fielding percentages have known limitations, but that’s one heck of a high fielding percentage for high Rookie ball.

A
Guest
A
3 years 11 months ago

I remember Profar, Sardinas, and Leury Garcia as the great SS trio a few years back. Have you ever seen Leury Garcia? He was supposed to have explosive tools as well.

Dan Out West
Guest
Dan Out West
3 years 11 months ago

Or Luis Marte?

This guy
Guest
This guy
3 years 11 months ago

Thanks, Mike. It’s great to get a little more first-hand information on Sardinas.

Ed Looney
Guest
Ed Looney
3 years 11 months ago

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110707&content_id=21530138&vkey=news_tex&c_id=tex

Jamey Newberg reports Sardinas and Profar both signed with the Rangers at the same time (July 2, 2009) for about the same money ($1.5 m). Sardinas is from Venezuela and Profar is from Curacao.

Apparently, both are switch hitters and both have some “pop”; although, Sardinas’ bat, to me, didn’t appear to be really quick through the zone compared to Profar’s. But, hopefully, as he gains strength and coaching, that’ll change.

Nice article. Leads me to curiosity of his origins. Fortunately, Google/Bing are on hand to provide the info.

Killa Mike
Guest
3 years 11 months ago

Comparable to Andrelton Simmons?

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
3 years 11 months ago

“This is really the best we can do on a Friday?”

Uh, he has a point bro.

Paul
Guest
Paul
3 years 11 months ago

He and Profar look like two different hitters to me, Mike. Sardinas looks like he really flips his hips out early, which we see in plenty of speed and contact hitters, but it’s hard to hit for much power that way. To me, and if I recall it’s hi-lighted in your writeup, Profar’s hands and wrists are thunder in addition to him providing a solid power base with his lower half. Sardinas is still a Top 10 prospect in 90% of orgs based on this, but I’ll be looking for him to make that adjustment before getting too excited about the bat.

Dirck
Guest
Dirck
3 years 11 months ago

This makes it look even more likely that the Rangers will trade a SS ( maybe Andus) for help elsewhere . How does Andus and maybe Odor to Arizona for Upton and Skaggs sound ?

Aggie E
Guest
Aggie E
3 years 11 months ago

Good for Texas, not as good for Arizona..

NS
Guest
NS
3 years 11 months ago

Impossible.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
3 years 11 months ago

How do you know what shortstops I’ve heard of?

How do I compare him to other shortstops I haven’t heard of?

Just being goofy, I enjoyed the information.

I agree that being able to make plays deep in the hole is important for a MLB shortstop, but unfortunately there are other significant requirements as well. If a shortstop can;t make those plays, well, he’d better hit very well.

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
3 years 1 month ago

Well, just like you said, up in AA end of 2013 (promoted today) and will be a top 100 guy next year I bet. Maybe should have been back end already.

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