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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Dane Sardinha

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 4/8/79, Age: 22, Height: 6’0’’, Weight: 200, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Reds - Drafted 2nd Round of 2000 Draft (Pepperdine U.). 2000 Stats: DNP - Signed too late (Boras) 2001 Stats: (High-A - Mudville) .235 AVG, 422 AB, 24 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 0 SB, 12 BB, 97 K, .259 OBP, .365 SLG.
   Dane Sardinha is yet another player whose career has been delayed, however slightly, by the negotiating style of Scott Boras. With the Reds talent dearth at catcher, they started Sardinha in the California League this year even though he didn’t sign in time to play at all in 2000. He looked overmatched for the majority of the season, which completely derailed the Reds’ plans to have him end the season at AA. Had he signed quickly in 2000, he might have progressed a bit further in the extra time. Sardinha is a catcher in the mold of his potential big-league manager Bob Boone: a great defensive reputation, a relatively poor, impatient hitter with a little pop, and catcher-type speed. Dane did manage 35 extra-base hits this season at Mudville, so he wasn’t horrible, but one expects a little more from a 22 year-old 2nd round pick in A-ball. Sardinha has absolutely no strike-zone judgment, tallying an 8/1 K/BB ratio, a trait that will not help him improve as a hitter as he moves up the ladder. The bottom line for Sardinha is that nearly everyone in the Reds organization believes that he will be a major-league catcher regardless of his offensive output, and he has a major ally in Bob Boone, who values catchers who are “defense-first”. He might develop league-average power, but I doubt he will ever be much of a hitter.
   The Reds have Jason LaRue and little else as far as the catching position goes. Unfortunately for Sardinha, LaRue is a better hitter (still not good, but better) than he is, and also threw out 42 of 69 basestealers in 2001. The Reds think Sardinha will handle the staff a bit better, but if he can’t hit .200, even Bob Boone can’t get him a job. I expect the Reds to start Dane out at AA in 2002, and they will probably keep him there for the entire season. He needs to hit at least as well as he did in 2001 to move up to AAA in 2003. Cincinnati has stated that they would like to get Dane to the Reds by 2003, but I think that’s a reach. I’m also not convinced that he’ll ever be better than a backup, but when the GM and manager are your biggest fans, you can sometimes overcome a lack of skill. Sardinha reminds me a bit of Greg Olson, who got to be Maddux’s personal catcher for a while, if I recall. He will probably settle somewhere between Olson and Boone as a player, likely closer to Olson, which is fairly poor for a 2nd round draft pick (especially at his salary).


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