Scouting Yankee Prospect #19: Bronson Sardinha

The Yankees selected Bronson Sardinha in the 1st round of the 2001 draft. Sardinha has flashed an excellent bat from the left hand side of the plate and a still very projectable swing. It's these reasons that he's our Yankee's prospect #19.

Vital Statistics
Name: Bronson Sardinha
Position: Left Field
DOB: April 6, 1983
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 195
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

It has been somewhat of a roller coaster career for Bronson Sardinha. As badly as everyone wants to ignore it, Sardinha has had his fair share of troubles. Considered one of the Yankees' better prospects the past couple of seasons, Sardinha is a man without a position. He has played just about everywhere in his career after being a supplemental first round pick by the Yankees in the 2001 draft out of high school. He made the switch to third base in 2004 and that experiment was pretty much a nightmare as he committed an astonishing 43 errors this past season. With A-Rod locked up at 3B for the Yankees, and with Eric Duncan most likely making the jump to AA Trenton in 2005, Sardinha will most likely be switching positions again in 2005. His offense truly doesn't seem to be the problem but he needs to find a position and stick with it for good. 

As has been the story of his professional career, it was a roller coaster of a season for the Hawaiian native in 2004. He began the season with the Tampa Yankees and he really could not have started off any more on fire. To put it into perspective, at the end of April his batting average was a lofty .372. However, after a rough period over a span of over a month, his average plunged back to earth as it fell to .315. Before his average began that drop, the lefty hitter had put on an offensive show with a 19 game hitting streak in April. But, that is still nothing to complain about in the scheme of things. Despite his apparent power outage as far as home runs, Sardinha was promoted midway through the 2004 season. Remember, he had finally mastered the Florida State League that had left him baffled in 2003.

Sardinha did pretty well offensively in his first taste of AA baseball for the Trenton Thunder this past year after being called up from Tampa around the All-Star break. He hit .267 with 6 home runs and 29 RBI in 266 at-bats for the Thunder after hitting .315-2-33 in 248 at-bats for Tampa. Sardinha, playing third base in 2004 after rising through the ranks as an outfielder and a shortstop, started off red hot in Trenton but tailspinned during the latter part of the season. But, for those who followed him closely, it is easy to see the progress he made in the power department and for a 21 year old, he held his own quite well in AA ball where some prospects fall flat on their face. However, the one totally disappointing part of this prospect's game was his defense. Sardinha committed an ungodly amount of errors with a whopping 43 this year in his two stops manning the hot corner. Therefore, the Yankees elected to send Sardinha to the Arizona Fall League to work on his defense, most likely attempting to keep him in left field for good. One can expect to no longer see this lefty hitting prospect in the infield anymore. He is ticketed for left field and DH. With that being said, it makes it that much more important that he becomes a consistent force with the bat. 2005 will be the most pivotal season of his career.

2004 Tampa .315 248 12 2 33 37 9 29 39 .389 .403
2004 Trenton .267 266 11 6 29 37 4 37 65 .356 .383

Batting and Power. Right now, it appears that Bronson Sardinha is the type of hitter that takes longer than usual to adapt to new leagues. However, once he gets going, he can start piling up the hits. Bronson has a very sweet swing from the left hand side of the plate. That swing looks like it could have the potential to produce a .300 type of hitter. However, his power potential seems to be a bit inconsistent at this point. In his first season in the system, he crushed an impressed 16 home runs but has only hit 17 home runs combined in the two years since then. But, it seems that Sardinha will turn out to be much more of a hitter for average than a power hitter. For a young hitter, he really makes pretty decent contact but his strikeout totals could come down a little bit. However, he does have pretty decent patience at the plate as well. So, he has a lot to build on despite his lack of consistent power hitting. What it boils down to is that Bronson Sardinha looks to be a good average hitter but he only projects to hit around 15 home runs annually.

Base running and Speed. Bronson Sardinha does not project to have plus speed but is not slow on the base paths by any means. As a matter of fact, he has a pretty good knack for stealing bases. As a combined season total, Bronson swiped 13 bases in 2004. In other words, the Hawaiian native knows what he is doing on the base paths but has about average speed.

Defense. Here is where things begin to get a little bit complicated for Bronson Sardinha. The problem is that he doesn't really play a position. He started off as a shortstop and that didn't work out too well. He has also tried third base and left field and neither of them went too well either. Errors, errors and more errors have followed him to every position. But, it doesn't look like he has the soft hands for the infield or the quick body movements for third base. So, like it or not, Sardinha is stuck with left field and DH. Unless he makes major strides in the next year, he appears to be somewhat of a defensive liability. This is key for him because he won't have the power of a typical DH.

Projection. Things are going to go downhill for Bronson Sardinha soon if he can't settle into a permanent position. So far, he has failed terribly at every position he has played at, starting with shortstop. But, if continues to hit all the way up through AAA, he could profile as super utility man that may not be a good fielder but hits well off the bench at a few different positions. But, to help his stock, he is much better off finding himself a full time position. If he can stick to say, left field, he profiles as a solid number two hitter in a big league lineup. He'll never be a huge power threat but likely a .300 hitter most of the time. Developing into a better fielder is what will take him to the next level.

ETA. Late 2006. To begin the 2005 season, it appears that Bronson Sardinha has gotten himself a ticket back to AA Trenton after a slow end to the 2005 campaign and a thumb injury that kept him out of the Arizona Fall League. So, he'll begin 2005 back in AA with an excellent chance of a promotion to AAA if he can settle into an everyday position. In 2006, Bronson will likely start off in AAA Columbus with a chance for a promotion to the Bronx late in the season.

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