Weight: 162 lbs
Bernadina, who is the brother of Washington Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina, was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in July of 2009 at the age of 16. Roderick is seeking the opportunity to join his brother at the major league level, and certainly has the tools to do so.
The Willemstead, Curacao native spent his first season with the Dominican Summer League Orioles where he batted .242 with one home run and 26 RBI in 70 games. He also swiped 13 bases which shows the potential threat on the base paths. Bernadina was promoted to the Gulf Coast League Orioles and hit .239 with four homers and 28 RBI in 2011. The batting average dipped slightly, but the round trippers increased by three.
Bernadina on the baseball field shows a lot of promise. In the batter’s box, the 19-year-old is a tremendous fastball hitter. He has a quick bat that can catch up to any mistake pitch. At the major league level it’s extremely important to be an above average fastball hitter. However, Bernadina struggles against off-speed pitches. He looks for fastballs, which can be troubling if he continues to have a hard time with breaking pitches; the .241 career average signals the room for improvement. He can improve by staying back and making contact. A free swinger, Bernadina has a violent swing that creates problems against off-speed pitches which causes him to get out and front on the baseball. The Orioles prospect continues to develop into his 162 lb frame. He can realistically add about 20 to 25 lbs of muscle to improve his power. If he adjusts to off-speed pitches, Bernadina could be a 20-20 type player at the higher level.
Defensively, Bernadina has an average arm in the outfield. He takes good routes to the baseball. In 119 career games, he has only committed five errors. He plays the majority of the time in center field, so reading the ball and getting good jumps to the ball is extremely important. Expect the Orioles to keep him in center field moving forward.
Bernadina is lurking in the lower end of the minor leagues and will be looking to make a splash in 2012. The likelihood location that the Orioles begin the prospect is Aberdeen. He has gained experience from each level in his first two years and it’s best if they take it one step at a time with him.
Due to his young age, don’t expect the organization to rush Bernadina as they want to give him every opportunity to succeed at the minor league level. Trent Mummey, Glynn Davis and John Ruettiger are some outfield prospects ahead of Bernadina in the system, so there is no reason to rush him.
If the Orioles speed up the growing process, Bernadina will be nothing more than a .220 to .240 hitter at the big league level. There is still a lot of room for him to grow and the organization wants him to gain the experience necessary to be successful.
The realistic time table is 2015.
Andrew Vigliotti is a Staff Writer for Birds Watcher. Follow Andrew on twitter @Andrew_Vig.