Texas Rangers farmhand Jurickson Profar is widely-regarded as one of the upper-echelon prospects in the minor leagues. Though he’s played just one year of full-season ball, the soon-to-be 19-year-old shortstop turned many a head.
This morning, a pair of prominent publications unveiled their Top-100 prospect lists. Scout.com‘s list ranked Profar as the seventh-best in baseball. Seedlings to Stars, however, ranked Profar number two.
There is very little not to like about Profar’s game. Last season, while playing in the South Atlantic League, Profar turned in an alarming 57 extra-base hits in a mere 115 games. To top it off, he actually walked more times (65) than he struckout (63). At 18 years old.
Nathaniel Stoltz sums up his glovework thusly:
Defensively, Profar is a sure bet to stick at shortstop. He has an extremely strong arm–in fact, Texas was the only team that were willing to not make him a pitcher in pro ball, which is why he signed with the Rangers in the first place–and good infield actions and range. Many young shortstops post obscene error totals in the low minors, but Profar already has his fielding percentage up above .950.
As Stoltz points out in his profile of Profar, he doesn’t necessarily project as elite in any one faction of the game, but at that same time, Profar doesn’t project as anything below “above-average” at any faction, either.
Yesterday, at Baseball Prospectus, Jason Parks noted some cause for concern over Profar and his development. Chief among them for Parks is the sense that Profar doesn’t know how to fail. Sound confusing? Parks explains:
In the past, Profar has shown an almost preternatural ability to play up to the level of competition he is facing. But failure isn’t something that Profar takes lightly, and with a more advanced challenge comes the possibility of more advanced failure. What could go wrong is that Profar could press, feeling like he is letting himself down and falling behind the timetable he has defined. Nobody loves Profar more than Profar, and the response to any substantial setback (injury, poor performance, professional assignment) will be very telling.
Certainly, no one is expecting that Profar will even sniff the big league in 2012, nor should he. The Rangers have one of the better keystone combinations in the game with shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Ian Kinsler. The intriguing thing will be how the ball club makes room for Profar when he is deemed ready, which could conceivably happen as early as 2013.
The Rangers have been in talks with Kinsler on a contract extension to keep him in town and Andrus would still be club-controlled at that time as well. How well Profar adapts to the more advanced levels of the minor league will go a long way toward determining whether or not he can unseat Andrus as the starting shortstop in Texas. The loser of that battle will still be quiet valuable for the Rangers. Either one of them would have significant trade value.