Name: Luis Sardinas
DOB: May 16, 1993
Acquired: 2009 International Free Agent
The Texas Rangers spent plenty of money on the Latin American free agent market last summer, and because of that, it has caused a couple players to be a bit overshadowed.
Shortstop Jurickson Profar, who received a $1.55 million bonus, stole the show with his dazzling play and hard-working nature at Fall Instructional League this past offseason.
But with Profar not playing in games during Spring Training, that allowed $1.5 million bonus-man Luis Sardinas to steal the show at shortstop.
After signing last summer, Sardinas worked out at the club's Dominican Republic complex in San Pedro de Macoris.
AZL Rangers manager Jayce Tingler, who was the Dominican Summer League manager last season, was impressed with Sardinas' game.
"His skillset is very good," Tingler said last October. "He looks like he's going to be a kid that plays the shortstop position for awhile. He's very fluid, he's quick on his feet, good arm, runs very well, switch-hitter like Profar. We're just going to have to wait and let his body develop a little more."
Despite the talent, Sardinas may not be an instant producer statistically because of his wiry frame. Tingler says the Rangers are getting him on their strength and conditioning program to try and fill out his body.
"Profar is a little more physical at the age of 16," he said. "Sardinas is a little more of a wiry frame. A big part of both their development is going to be in the gym and the weight room–how much they develop physically, muscle-wise, speed-wise, and all that. And that's a process of them being 16 right now."
The Rangers have had plenty of success finding pitching on the Latin American market over the last few years, but they haven't produced much in the way of position players. With the signings of Sardinas and Profar, it appears they now have themselves a pair of ultra-talented, promising young infield prospects.
Also See: Sardinas looking to follow idol Vizquel (March 31, 2010)
Rangers Minor League Notes (March 24, 2010)
Rangers Minor League Notes (March 18, 2010)
Top Prospects, Top Tools (February 11, 2010)
Final Instructional League Report (October 27, 2009)
Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Jayce Tingler (October 23, 2009)
Prospect Videos: Luis Sardinas takes right-handed BP
Sardinas takes right-handed BP (part 2)
Sardinas singles to left field
Batting and Power: The Venezuela native has been switch-hitting for about two years now. He is a natural righty, and that's easy to see when he's taking cuts in the batting cage. Sardinas has a much more fluid swing from the right side, as he gets good extension and has a bit of loft in his swing. Though he doesn't have much ‘man strength' yet, he can drive the ball a bit right-handed, and he projects to have a bit of power from that side.
Sardinas' left-handed swing is a major work in progress. He gets happy feet in the box, and he's more of a slap hitter right now, as he doesn't get much extension. Sardinas can get overpowered from the left side, and he has plenty of work to do if he's going to continue switch-hitting. He works counts well from both sides though, and he seems to have a solid eye for the strike zone, particularly for a 16-year-old without much experience.
Base Running and Speed: During Spring Training, BBTiA.com's Jason Parks consistently clocked Sardinas at 4.1 seconds home-to-first from the left side and between 4.1 to 4.15 from the right side. Sardinas has plus [but not elite] speed now, and he projects to have plus speed even after he adds to his frame. Because he only played sparingly during games at Fall Instructional League and Spring Training, it was difficult to get a good read on his current baserunning skills, although he is mentally mature for his young age.
Defense: Like most young shortstops, Sardinas has some refinement to do across the board with his defensive game, but his raw tools are nothing short of elite. The prospect is simply smooth in the field, and it's easy to see even when he's just taking ground balls off the fungo. Sardinas gets a quick first step, moves easily to both sides, and he has soft hands and plus raw arm strength––his actions in general are very fluid. As Sardinas mentioned in the recent interview, he has worked hard during Spring Training on the accuracy of his throws to first base.
Projection: ‘Projection' is definitely the correct way to describe Sardinas–his game is largely about projection. With approximately 150 pounds on his frame, Sardinas needs to fill out to have the strength necessary to compete in professional baseball. Also, since he has only been switch-hitting for two years, Sardinas will need to get more comfortable and develop his left-handed swing. As is the case with most youngsters, he also must refine his overall defensive game.
But Sardinas' ceiling is as an All-Star-caliber player, and that's why the Rangers gave him a $1.5 million bonus last summer. He is admittedly unlikely to reach that ceiling, but if Sardinas develops, he should make a fine big leaguer at the very least. The shortstop should be plus defensively down the line, and he has a promising right-handed swing to go with plus speed. He has a nice package that could make him a special player.
2010 Outlook: The Rangers will take things slow with the 16-year-old, and rightfully so. He is not only among the youngest players playing professionally in the U.S., but he also must add strength to his slight 6-foot-1, 150-pound frame. Sardinas will see action in games at Extended Spring Training before joining the rookie-level AZL Rangers club when they begin in late-June. Although Sardinas is incredibly skilled, his youth and physical immaturity could mean he struggles statistically the first couple seasons of his professional career. Sardinas will simply have to fill out and add strength while he develops his game.
Scouting Rangers Prospect Luis Sardinas
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