Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Luis Sardinas out most of 2011?" and other notes

Not sure why no one has made note of this. In Aaron Fitt's recent writeup of Texas prospects (who has been hit or miss the last few years), he claims that Sardinas will miss most of 2011 due to shoulder surgery. He offers no details on the injury or the surgery or his rehab schedule except to say that he dislocated his shoulder on a swing an miss in instructs. Given that he has 6-7 months to rehab, hopefully Fitt does not mean that he will miss any time with Spokane next year. Perhaps Fitt is simply assuming that Sardinas would miss time if he broke spring training with a full-season club? Whatever the case, the kid has had a tough first year, missing a couple months after getting hit in the wrist, and now the shoulder issue; the injuries have definitely cost him some development time. Not that it matters, but I think Sardinas would have been just fine starting 2011 in Hickory if not for the injuries (out of spring training or via extended); if Leury Garcia can get posted there at the same age, with a much more diminutive stature and a skill set that was arguably more raw, Sardinas can surely play there at the same age.

As a side note, despite the fact that no one considers Jurickson Profar (here's a BA vid of Profar with a Tim Hulett voice over) to have plus range or speed, he is still touted by some to have plus upside at shortstop. People seem to be drawn in by the the beguiling smile and the preternatural instincts. Why, one is almost reminded of, dare I say, Elvis Andrus. Though he may share the same "it" factor that Jamie Newberg loves to go on and on about, Andrus did have speed and range that were undeniably plus. In that respect, Profar does not seem to be like Elvis Andrus. If Profar doesn't have present plus speed or range, he is not going to project to have them in the bigs 3 years from now. Sardinas is the guy who one _might_ project as having plus ML defensive tools at short (minus the beguiling smile and twinkle in his eye I guess) given that he _might_ have them now while it seems Profar would only project as a plus shortstop if his bat developed into a plus tool for the position. Given that the ave OPS in the AL for starting shortstops was only .670 in 2010, shortstop prospects don't have to hit much to stick at the position but you do expect them to put up stellar defense. If Profar only projects to play a league average shortstop at best, it would seem reasonable to project him as a second basemen in the long term. If he became the next Ian Kinsler, no one would complain.

As a penultimat note, I think people are overestimating the trade value of both Sardinas and Profar this offseason, particularly with respect to proposed trades for Zach Greinke (or any other young top roto guy). In trading for a young ace, I think that most clubs, including KC, would expect to get advanced prospects who are in the upper minors (AA, AAA) at minimum, while hoping to land major league players or major league ready talent as a first principle. Sardinas and Profar still carry a lot of risk, neither having appeared in full season ball yet, and I don't think either one necessarily has the upside or "can't-missness" of Elvis Andrus or Neftali Feliz. Elvis already had 260 games of experience (100 in highA) when he was traded to Texas while Feliz had 35 games of experience (though only in short season ball when acquired, but sill throwing 100mph). If a team was looking to trade Greinke to TX or anyone else, they will be looking for more upside and less risk in my opinion.

Speaking of risky, I'm not an Engel Beltre believer - not is his plate discipline, pitch recognition or "raw" power- so if Texas can get a nice ML regular with him as part of a package of prospects, I'm all for it. I think his value is less now than when he entered the system when people believed that those aspects of his game would improve as he matured. If you're KC, would you take the risk that Beltre will develop into a major league average centerfielder (AL: .736) who only projects to hit in the nine-hole at best due to an abysmal average-driven OBP (worse than Borbon's) and whose speed has yet to play up on the bases? I wouldn't, unless he is the _back_ of the deal. If you believe in Beltre, what you believe in is that he projects to play plus CF defense (I'm not sure he rates that right now though his speed range and arm are all reportedly plus) _and_ that his contact rate will keep his OBP at around a very fringy .300. If you look at Boston's recent deal with SD, do you think Beltre is in the same conversation as Kelly, Rizzo and Fuentes? Is Fuentes the CF who is more likely to reach his ceiling because he has a better feel for the game with similar tools? Time will tell I guess.

As a final note, Jamie Newberg still thinks Leury Garcia is a top prospect, good enough to include in a Greinke trade (thankfully though, Craig Gentry's name no longer appears in his ceaseless trade proposals), and Evan Grant thinks Chris Davis might be worthy of inclusion in a deal as a "major-league caliber player" (on par with Moreland or Borbon). If we're lucky, the iffy speculation ends when the winter meetings are over.


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