Jurickson Profar’s Powerful Debut

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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Mike Newman is the Owner/Managing Editor ofROTOscouting, a subscription site focused on baseball scouting, baseball prospects and fantasy baseball. Follow me onTwitter. Likeus on Facebook.Subscribeto my YouTube Channel.

19 Responses to “Jurickson Profar’s Powerful Debut”

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  1. Ben says:

    I wanna live wherever those condos are.

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  2. Milby says:

    I haven’t heard Upton for Profar as a trade possibility. I would think that given their talant and cost controlled years, it isn’t a surprise that Texas wouldn’t entertain the trade.

    Hasn’t most of the trade speculation been about Andrus and Upton?

    *Obligatory note that all this trade speculation is ridiculous, uninformed, and laughable.

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  3. Nick says:

    I think Kinsler would play a corner OF spot since Rangers have Gentry, Martin, and possibly Julio Borbon. Too much defensive talent

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    • Ben says:

      It’s totally insane, but it’s too bad they can’t transition Profar to center when Hamilton leaves at the end of the year. It seems like he’d be enough of an athlete to hold it down. Robin Yount did it successfully, if I recall correctly.

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      • Matt says:

        That seems like a huge waste of his defensive talents at SS – by all accounts Profar would be one of the better defensive SS’s in the league. It seems like the prudent path would be to trade Andrus (for Upton or someone else), and just have Profar be their starting SS next year. This would take enormous courage on the part of Ranger management though – to deal one of the league’s best SS’s in his prime, and hand the job to a relatively unproven 19 year old.

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      • YanksFanInBeantown says:


        You misspelled “utterly.”

        As in “an utterly unproven 19 year old.”

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      • Hmm says:

        Rather than trade Andrus to open a spot for Profar, it would seem prudent to play both in 2013 at SS/2B with Kinsler rotating between LF and 2B. Let Profar prove he is ready then move Andrus who still only be 25 going into 2014.

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  4. Robbie G. says:

    I am operating under the assumption that the Rangers intend to let Josh Hamilton walk and move either Elvis Andrus or Ian Kinsler, presumably Andrus, to CF. As someone else pointed out, Robin Yount was successfully converted from SS to CF. Andrus provides enough value on offensive and on the basepaths at this point that he’s still an asset in CF.

    Then there is the issue of whether to hand Mike Olt the 3B job and move Adrian Beltre over to 1B next season. I like the Rangers’ flexibility. They are really churning out some good position players lately.

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  5. Dirck says:

    Trading Andrus to Arizona for a package of Upton and one of their gang of good young pitchers like Bauer ,Skaggs ,or Bradley seems like a win for both teams . If the Rangers have to sweeten the pot with a complimentary piece like Moreland,Martin Perez,or one of their young infielders like Odor , it still works .

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    • J says:

      Andrus for Upton and one of the top pitching prospects in baseball in Bauer or Skaggs… must be some good glue you’re sniffing Dirck.

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  6. KerryHofmeister says:

    Man, that swing is really pretty.

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  7. sportsbaron1 says:

    You guys who are suggesting that the Rangers move a 24 year old shortstop (Elvis Andrus) who is just beginning to realize his All-Star potential as a hitter are fools. If I was running the Texas Rangers I would trade 31 year old, absent minded, pop-up artist IAN KINSLER for a reliable starting pitcher if one became available and I wouldn’t give it a second thought. Then I’d install Jurickson Profar at second base and watch him and Elvis turn double plays and anchor that infield for a good ten years–in addition to both of them hitting .300 or more for most of those years…

    Santa Monica

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  8. Matt says:

    Wasting Profar’s defensive talents at 2b would be foolish, especially since Kinsler is one of the better secondbasemen in the league. It basically comes down to what kind of return the Rangers could get for each player. I’m guessing they would get the most for Andrus, since he’s cost controlled, young, and plays SS. If they can get Upton for him straight up I would do that in a heartbeat. Having two of the league’s best SS’s on one roster seems like a waste to me, especially when they could be filling other holes instead.

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