Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Prospect Watch: Roderick Bernadina

Bloodlines always make for good stories in sports. As some already know, Roderick Bernadina is the cousin of Nationals OF Roger Bernadina. Both also play the game very similar.

Roderick, 19, is from Willemstad Curacao. Listed at 6'1'' 192 lb, he has all the physical attributes to project as a talented OF down the road. Here is a scouting report from Don at  Orioles-Nation:
International bat in that shows a great deal of promise. Cousin of Washington Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina. Room to add 10-15 lbs. Tremendous fastball hitter with some serious bat speed; destroys mistake pitches. Has trouble making contact with off-speed stuff; more so with breaking balls than changeups. Free swinger. Above-average speed. Looks lost in field at times, especially on the basepaths. Average arm strength. Has a rocking hitch in the hands (ever so slight) to go along with plus hand speed, which could improve as he matures and gains additional strength. Good, proper drive and hip rotation. Has a violent swing that gets him caught out in front on anything with movement. His brother Roger had similar traits and was able to improve his tools with proper coaching. If he establishes ability to sit on pitches and maintain patience at the plate Roderick could be dangerous.

From what I have seen in Roderick, this is spot-on. Calling him a free-swinger is probably a huge understatement. He swings at A LOT. His K/BB ratio is at 7/3 currently, which is not very surprising considering how violent and free he is. His biggest trouble so far in Aberdeen has been staying off the ball in the dirt. This probably goes hand-in-hand with him having trouble with change-ups and breaking balls. Of course, he is a raw talent at age 19, so much of this is expected. On opening night he held his own against a very tough pitching prospect in Taylor Guerreiri, whom was a 1st round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays. He was absolutely filthy, and held Aberdeen to only 2 hits through 5.0 innings. Roderick was 0-2 against him and in his first at-bat was baffled on a two-seam that dipped into the outside corner (nearly in the dirt). This plate appearance highlighted the flaws touched on in the above scouting report. However, the next plate appearance highlighted his quick bat speed and his quick hip-turn. I was fairly impressed with what I saw in that AB, although he simply grounded out to SS. He ended the game 2-4, with two sharp singles off the RP's brought in.

A few other games I have watched displayed similar skills. It's clear that the violent swing envelops some of these flaws, but the potential is fairly obvious. I actually think his speed is almost more than above-average relative to others, but if he puts on anymore weight then above-average is probably where he will end. It really is amazing watching him, as the comparison to his cousin Roger is so obvious. He still has trouble staying back, and it's primarily been his flaw at Aberdeen so far. Looks a little too antsy at the plate right now. He's an underrated prospect in the Orioles system, and it would not shock me to see a night spurt of success shoot him up in the rankings. Overall, he's a player I like and hope to see a little more of as the season goes by.

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