After seeing Jurickson Profar play in the South Atlantic League in mid-2011, I returned home and wrote a piece for the now defunct Roto Hardball discussing the teenage phenom as the best shortstop prospect in baseball. In fact, if asked to name the top five prospects I’ve ever scouted in person, Profar would be listed alongside Jason Heyward, Mike Stanton, Bryce Harper and Dylan Bundy.
Video after the jump
When at the park, certain memories become seared into my conscience and Profar is responsible for a couple of those. The first being an explosive batting practice session where the pencil-lean Profar punished baseballs from both sides of the plate. At one point, I had to tell a friend who took the trip with me to, “shut up and listen” because he just kept talking and I wanted him to hear the sound of baseballs coming off of Profar’s bat. They sounded like shots exploding from a hunting rifle. And while I’ve seen more impressive displays of batting practice power from more “Hulk-ish” players such as Bryce Harper, Profar takes the pound-for-pound title — Hands down.
Readers can experience at least some of the second memory with me as it was captured at the 3:36 mark of my video on Profar. At a time when many young hitters do not understand how to stay inside the baseball and tap into pull side power, he unleashed this swing resulting in a rocket down the left field line. The ball was foul, but the line drive ricocheted off of the condos beyond the left field fence. From the image and approximate spot where ball met wall (circled in red), it’s easy to estimate the blast would have been well over 400 feet had its flight path not been obstructed.
Fast forward to Profar’s home run in his first plate appearance on Sunday. The historical context of his being only the third teenager in a century certainly adds a wow factor, but one look at his smallish frame is bound to lead to questions about Profar’s power ceiling.
In a season when Major League Baseball might not have a shortstop reach the 25-home run plateau, he has the potential — regardless of size — to become one of the most potent shortstops offensively in the game by the age of 22. In general, 22 is an age where many star level talents are just making their debut.
Thw arrival of Jurickson Profar makes this winter’s Hot Stove League the Rangers playground. Peter Bourjos “blocking” Mike Trout led to interesting rumors last off-season. Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado and the Atlanta Braves unparalleled (or so it seemed) pitching depth led to speculation Adam Jones of the Orioles was headed to the National League East. Should the Texas choose to dangle either elite level shortstop on the open market, Justin Upton probably won’t be the only elite talent mentioned in trade rumors.
Few players would force an organization to consider dealing an Elvis Andrus who has yet to reach his prime, but Profar just might. In fact, I spoke with a contact who was so supremely confident in Profar’s impact potential that if offered Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton straight up, he’d decline. Another conversation at the park with a scout led to a suggestion the Rangers may want to consider letting Josh Hamilton walk, move Ian Kinsler to centerfield and use Profar at second base. When players considered franchise cornerstones are discussed like Rooks to Profar’s King, it becomes obvious the young shortstop is considered prospect royalty within the industry.
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