Deep Impact: Jurickson Profar

For everything that minor league baseball lacks, and it lacks in just about everything, it makes up for with absurdly entertaining baseball. Plus, it’s the only place where one can see the mascot for the San Antonio Missions, named Ballapeno, doing the dougie. Seriously, that happened. What it doesn’t lack, however, is a slew of tomorrow’s major league stars. Last night, I tuned into the Missions taking on the Frisco Roughriders (hence the dancing jalapeno pepper) to get another look at the loaded Texas Rangers’ farm system. Today, I’ll specifically discuss 19-year-old Jurickson Profar. Why? Recently Fangraphs and ESPN conducted their second annual Franchise Player Drafts and the young shortstop was selected in both drafts. So, let’s look at Profar and then talk some fantasy baseball.

Often fans accuse evaluators of relying too heavily on a prospect’s age-relative-to-league (ARL), especially when ranking a teen. Sometimes just holding one’s own against older competition is enough to excite prospectors but not fantasy owners. Understandable. No one needs to cite or hide behind ARL to praise or defend Profar, owner of a wRC+ of 135 and a slash line of .291/.363/.491 in Double-A. Again, he’s 19! Coming into the season, if Profar wasn’t listed just after Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Matt Moore on a prospect list it was cause to dismiss it. He’s that good.

Though, no one really debates how valuable Profar is going to be. As far as prospects go, he’s undoubtedly a stud. But, some fantasy owners have concerns. The biggest issue surrounding Profar is entirely outside his control. Of course, I’m talking about logjam the Rangers have up the middle. It’s almost impossible to envision 75 million dollar man Ian Kinslar being moved and Profar certainly will not be traded. That leaves Elvis Andrus. Andrus’s tenure with the team will likely have to end for Profar to assume his position atop the keystone. When does that happen? Andrus is only 23 years old and recently signed a $14.4M deal through 2014. I jokingly predicted it would be this season, but I can’t seriously predict the Rangers trading the guy Mike Newman just took 11th overall in the aforementioned Fangraphs draft. This has to concern fantasy owners. Will Jurickson have to change positions? When will he make his debut? Given the unlikelihood the Rangers could move Kinsler’s sizable contract, Jon Daniels’s likely desire to maximize his assets, and the organization’s growing payroll, I could foresee Andrus being traded to fill organizational needs and make room for Profar in that not-so-distant future. Andrus’s value is extremely high given his ability and contract, so it wouldn’t be crazy for the team to move him as early as next trading deadline. The heir to Derek Jeter? The guy who moves Starlin Castro off short? Would the Mets move one of their big arms? There would be two dozen teams vying for his services. At least.

Anyway, what you really want to know is how Profar will hit. Will there be power? Will there be speed? For now, let’s assume he’ll be the Rangers’ shortstop. Slotting a guy like Profar into the Rangers’ star laden lineup isn’t fair because his ability to get on base is outstanding. He’s going to score well over hundred runs a year atop that lineup. Where does this ability come from, you ask? Profar has unbelievable pitch recognition and bat control for his age and international pedigree. At the plate Profar has a clear plan and his selectivity and patience is palatable. He is a switch hitter and has no qualms with lining the ball the other way from either side of the plate. In game action, he does have a tendency to lower his front shoulder and dive into the ball, especially from the right side. As he matures, he’ll trust him eyes and hands more and when he does, watch out. He’ll hit close to or above .300 annually for your fantasy team.

Batting Average? Well above average. Runs? Elite.

The big questions, however, relate to power and steals. For the next several years Profar will be growing. As you can see in the video below, he has a slight build but his shoulders and back do appear room for growth. He isn’t a typical power hitter, but he’s already hitting line drives out of the park. Plus, due to his great contact ability and selectivity his power will play up. In a stadium like Arlington don’t be surprised if he matures into 20 to 25 more home runs. Prior to this year I wouldn’t have pegged him for more than 15 home runs, but his ability to keep his hands back and drive the ball has really impressed me in 2012.

Profar has good speed, I’ve consistently clocked him from home to first at 4 seconds flat. In the minors he’s shown the ability to steal bags and it’s also a good sign Ron Washington hasn’t put the breaks on Andrus. Jurickson’s on base ability will give him ample opportunity to get steals. In large part due to Washington’s treatment of Andrus, I’d expect Profar to be in the 15 to 20 steals range with big upside for more.

As a fantasy prospect, Profar projects to do everything well at a premium position. Adding him to the best offense in a great offensive park will only bolster his production. For a great look at Profar, watch the video below Bullpen Banter’s Steve Fiorindo shot during spring training.

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Formerly of Bullpen Banter, JD can be followed on Twitter.

16 Responses to “Deep Impact: Jurickson Profar”

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  1. DL80 says:

    I wonder if the Rangers would have been better off just letting Kinsler walk as a free agent? And I say this as a Kinsler owner in a dynasty league.

    Kinsler is an excellent second baseman in fantasy and real life (defense, great stolen base %, goes deep into counts, etc.), but wouldn’t the Rangers be better off with a cheap Profar at SS and a cheap Andrus at 2B for years to come rather than an expensive Kinsler at 2B and a cheap Profar at SS, plus whatever they could get for Andrus?

    Despite the talk here of potentially moving him to LF, I actually think they may be better off moving Kinsler to 3b in a year or two when Profar is ready. That sets their 3b, 2b, SS for another 4-5 years, at least.

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    • JD Sussman says:

      All interesting points, DL. Though, I don’t think Kinsler at 3B is possible with the Beltre contract. I had not heard the LF talk for Kinsler, that’s interesting too. I’m not sure in that scenario that Elvis would be the one moving to 2B, by the way.

      Thanks for the comment, I hope you enjoyed.

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      • DL80 says:

        Thanks for the reply, JD. Interesting and informative article. My mention of the LF talk was actually a reference to an article here on Fangraphs right after the Kinsler signing (can’t remember who wrote it). I forgot about Beltre’s contract. Despite his good start so far, I would be surprised if they don’t regret Beltre’s extension by late next year (already 33, 4 1/2 years left on big money, blocking Profar by proxy).

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    • Adam Coulson says:

      I don’t think they would look at moving Kinsler to 3B when they have Mike Olt coming through the system as well. They will need his power without having Beltre or Hamilton in the lineup in years to come! The Future infield has more options than any other team out their. Luckily Profar is only 19 and things will always change so there is no reason for them to rush players through their system with an already all-star lineup.

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      • radicalhenri says:

        The rangers are just ridiculous. It’s crazy to think that they’re even better set for future years than they are for this year.

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  2. Tex2044 says:

    I’m almost positive that Andrus would not be moving off of SS. There has been talk of moving Kinsler to LF. They say it could save his knees. I also don’t think Andrus is a cheap solution. After 2014 he is going to get a big payday. I doubt it will be with the Rangers though. I love Andrus and think he is one of the best SS in the game, especially with his improved contact this year, I just don’t think the Rangers will pay him. The best solution might be to trade Andrus at the deadline next year.

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  3. Mike says:

    When the Rangers were negotiating/signing Kinsler’s extension they made it clear to him that it was very possible he would be changing positions within a year or two with the team. Kinsler said he was absolutely ok with that, so the Rangers seemingly already have a plan in place for Profar’s addition to the ML team.

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  4. Andrew says:

    I wish my team had the problem of needing to fit Kinsler, Andrus, and Profar on the field. Sigh……………….

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  5. Adam says:

    Agreed with Tex in that I would assume they will at least seriously entertain the idea of moving Kinsler into left when Profar pushes his way into the picture. It bears noting that the beginning of the above video shows Profar fielding balls at second.

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  6. JD Sussman says:

    Great stuff, Rangers Fans! Given your points, a move to second is a very real concern for fantasy owners!

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  7. Chris says:

    I believe they all stay, I think the name to watch is Nellie Cruz. I thumk the Rangers let him play out is contract and Ian moves to Right. Defensively Ian would be on the same side of the field, has the speed to cover some ground and has the,power of a corner outfielder. His arm is not ehat Nellie’ is but most aren’t

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    • Baldacci says:

      I bet kinsler can track a fly ball better than ol Nellie.

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    • DL80 says:

      I can’t see Kinsler in RF; he doesn’t have the year-to-year consistent power that most GMs want from that position. And I’m not sure his defense would be anything above average, since much of his defensive ability comes from good reactions/first step. And a lot of his value comes from being an above average to very good defensive player at 2B.

      So you’d be paying him $15 mil per year on the downside of his career to be an average RF at best, assuming he’s healthy. That’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s also not the best.

      If they keep Hamilton and let Cruz go (I can’t see them letting both go), then Hamilton could play RF with his arm and Kinsler could play LF. Still not ideal, but maybe better.

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  8. Zigs says:

    With Andrus agent being Boras, I do not see the Rangers resigning him to the monster contract they will want. So I sadly believe the Rangers will lose him in the next two years.

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  9. rondo says:

    this kid played for Curacao in the Little League World Series a few years ago and absolutely killed it.

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  10. Sam Samson says:

    “At the plate Profar has a clear plan and his selectivity and patience is palatable.”

    Did you mean “palatable” or “palpable”? Palatable would suggest it’s ok, it won’t turn your stomach. Palpable would suggest it’s so real you can touch it. I’m not sure either is the best word there, but maybe you meant one of those. As things stand, you’re saying his pitch recognition is bearable. That doesn’t really fit with your earlier assertion that “Profar has unbelievable pitch recognition” so I’m not sure quite what you intended.

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