- FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball - https://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy -

Jurickson Profar, Second Baseman

The Texas Rangers reportedly agreed to an eight-year, $120M contract extension with shortstop Elvis Andrus, effectively making him the focal point of the franchise for the next decade. Contract extensions don’t generally have a huge impact on fantasy baseball for the individual signing the extension. Perhaps it slightly increases Andrus’ long-term value because he will remain in a positive run environment, but that only matters in extreme keeper leagues.

This Andrus extension does impact fantasy baseball in a different way, though. It essentially guarantees one of two scenarios will happen with top-prospect Jurickson Profar: (1) he will be moved to second base with the Rangers, or (2) he will be traded and play shortstop for another organization.

Since this is not the space for trade speculation regarding one of the top prospects in all of baseball, we can focus upon Profar’s assumed move to second base and what that means for his value in standard roto formats.

The immediate reaction I noticed on Twitter was to bump Profar’s value down a touch, as the offensive profile at second base is slightly higher than at shortstop. That reaction may not be correct, though, as it’s not as large as one would think. The league-average wOBA at second base last year was .302, while it was an even .300 at shortstop. Second basemen hit for slightly more power with an average .122 ISO compared to a .120 ISO for shortstops, but again, the difference is nominal.

To further illustrate the move from shortstop to second base will not hurt Profar’s fantasy value, we can compare his expected performance in 2013 to past performance at the position to see where it stacks up. For instance, consider these two performances side-by-side:

Jurickson Profar (’13 ZiPS) 610 13 65 60 17 .263
Omar Infante (’12 season) 554 12 69 53 17 .274

The batting average for Profar is slightly below that of Infante, but the overall counting statistics are quite similar. Obviously, this is not to say Jurickson Profar is the second coming of Omar Infante at second base. It does tell us, however, that Jurickson Profar’s expected performance in 2013 would have roughly ranked him in the mid-teens at second base, according to Zach Sanders’ end-of-season rankings last October.

How would that compare to the shortstop position?

Jurickson Profar (’13 ZiPS) 610 13 65 60 17 .263
Alexei Ramirez (’12 season) 593 9 59 73 20 .265

Using the same end-of-season ranking system, Alexei Ramirez was the 15th-ranked shortstop in 2012. Profar is projected to offer a bit more power, but the overall value is once again comparable. And again, we’re looking at a mid-teens ranking, which mirrors the rough ranking for Profar at second base.

Overall, it doesn’t appear the switch from shortstop to second base will affect the fantasy value of Jurickson Profar, at least this season. He’s still one of the top (if not the top) prospect in all of baseball, and the fact that he’s projected to be a middling fantasy option at either shortstop or second base as a 20-year-old reflects just how talented he is.

If you grabbed Profar in a keeper league for his long-term value, his likely move from shortstop to second base will matter little. He’s still one of the most valuable keepers in fantasy baseball. For those not in a keeper league, though, you should be far more worried about when he’ll wear a Texas Rangers uniform rather than worry about his positional value. Ian Kinsler doesn’t want to move from second base and Elvis Andrus is no longer a potential trade target. His path to the big leagues has gotten more muddled, increasing the chance you’re simply carrying dead weight for the majority of the season.

In the end, though, if you liked Jurickson Profar the shortstop, you’ll still like Jurickson Profar the second baseman. The change in job title matters little to his overall value.