Luis Sardinas Scouting Report: Luis Sardinas ranked #6 (goET note: RECOUNT! RECOUNT!) on the LSB Community Prospect Rankings.
In the days leading up to Opening Day, I'm going to offer write-ups on the 31 players who made the Rangers' LSB Community Prospect Rankings Top 31. I've done this the last couple of years, and I don't want to re-invent the wheel, so some of this will be a repeat of what I've written before, particularly regarding draft history or performance pre-2013. Also, this is not based on my personal observations -- I'm not a scout, and haven't seen most of these guys. I'm just aggregating the numbers and what others say about these players.
So, with that out of the way, let's take a look at Luis Sardinas...
Luis Sardinas is a 20 year old shortstop listed at 6'1", 150 lbs. A switch-hitter, Sardinas was signed out of Venezuela in 2009 to a $1.5 million bonus -- at the time, one of the biggest bonuses given to a J-2 prospect.
Sardinas was signed at the same time as Jurickson Profar, and was thought by some to be the better prospect, but in his first few years of pro ball, his progress stalled, while Profar shot past him. Sardinas was limited to just 179 plate appearances in the AZL through 2011, as he was dogged by shoulder injuries and questions about his desire.
The 2012 season was significant for Sardinas, as for the first time, he was able to pick up significant at bats. Assigned to low-A Hickory, Sardinas put up a .291/.346/.356 line with 32 steals in 41 attempts, while logging 412 plate appearances.
Getting on the field and holding his own in low-A was enough to get Sardinas back on the prospect map, as he was ranked the #7 prospect in the Ranger system by Baseball America, #5 in the Ranger system by Jason Parks, #12 by Jamey Newberg, and #9 on Keith Law's Ranger list. BP had Sardinas ranked #86 in their top 100 list, though he didn't crack the BA, MLB.com or Law lists.
Sardinas followed up his 2012 campaign with a solid season in 2013. Again, the offensive numbers weren't electrifying -- he had a .288/.340/.347 line with 32 steals in 42 attempts in 573 plate appearances for high-A Myrtle Beach and AA Frisco -- but he was a 20 year old who was young for his league, and he continued to get positive reviews for his glovework at shortstop.
BA ranked Sardinas #14 in their Carolina League top 20 list after the season, #11 in the Texas League list, and #7 in the Ranger top 10 list. Jason Parks had Sardinas at #72 in his top 100 list, and #4 among Rangers prospects. MLB.com had Sardinas at #76 in the top 100 list and 4th among Rangers, as well as 9th among all shortstop prospects. Keith Law had Sardinas 10th in his Ranger prospect list, with Sardinas not making his top 100.
Sardinas' skill set is pretty straightforward: he's a throwback, glove-first shortstop, a guy who has speed and can pick it at short while being a contact hitter at the plate. He's not ever going to hit for power, or likely for a high average -- his big selling point is being a plus defender at shortstop.
Sardinas was added to the Rangers' 40 man roster this offseason, and is expected to start the year manning the shortstop position for AA Frisco. While his path to the majors is currently blocked by Elvis Andrus, if he plays well in AA this year, the Rangers could possibly turn to Sardinas this year if Elvis were to miss time with an injury.
What sort of ceiling does Sardinas have? Well, if we're talking about a fast, slick-fielding, singles hitting shortstop who is going to homer about as often as Prince Fielder steals second base (Sardinas has 4 professional homers in 1164 plate appearances), the obvious comp you can make is Elvis Andrus. Sardinas isn't someone who brings the verve and energy to a game that Elvis does, but if you are looking at a current major leaguer whose statistical profile -- offensively and defensively -- fits what Sardinas could be if he reaches his potential, Andrus is probably the guy.