Tonight after the Rangers 5-3 win in Cleveland, word spread through the Twitter-verse that the Rangers called up their prized talent from AA Frisco, shortstop Jurickson Profar. He is just one of five players that will make the trek down from the Minor Leagues up to Arlington, but certainly the most notable and, well, the one Rangers fans are most excited about. A full breakdown of the roster shuffle can be found here.
Profar, 19, has been the youngest player in the Texas League all year, and has been lauded by various scouting types (Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein, to name two) as the number one prospect in all of baseball. Despite his ripe age and relative inexperience in pro ball, Profar finished his AA season at a triple slash line of .281/.368/.452, drawing an impressive 66 walks compared to only 79 strikeouts in nearly 550 plate appearances.
Though he is the Rangers #1 prospect, his role with the Major League club is not expected to be a substantial one. This past week in Frisco signaled a clear and prescient example of his assumed contribution to the Rangers; that is, coming off the bench to pinch-hit late in the game, and then play the subsequent position allotted to him for the remainder of the game. I (sort of) alluded to this recently in a post I made about having the best available talent on the roster for when the games start to grow in magnitude.
Jon Daniels affirmed this when he issued a statement earlier this evening about the transaction.
“Obviously you don’t typically consider a young guy for a utility role, and we wouldn’t if this was April, but we’re looking to put our best 25 there, and we felt he’s one of them.”
So there’s that.
Of course, looking forward in regards to Profar, it sparks a pretty interesting topic of conversation. We all know that Josh Hamilton is a free agent after the season ends, and, without a contract currently in hand, and understanding Josh Hamilton’s preference to stay with the Rangers, it should send a pretty loud message that the Texas front office really doesn’t want him back. Well, at lost not at the expected price tag he should command. So, with Profar being groomed for a starting roster spot on Opening Day 2013 (because it wouldn’t make sense to have him up and not be starting), where does Elvis Andrus fit into the equation?
If you are having trouble understanding the sequence of events, let me help. Ian Kinsler signed a longterm extension earlier this season, so he’s here for good. Josh Hamilton is gone. Jurickson Profar will be up and making league minimum money. And Elvis Andrus has two years left on his deal before he hits free agency. Meaning, this offseason will generate the peak value for Andrus to be traded in some deal to net a replacement for the huge void Josh Hamilton will be leaving in the lineup, and in the outfield. Crazy? It’s just business.
But I’ll leave that for an extended breakdown sometime in the offseason.
Tonight is a night to be excited for the future of the next big star for the Rangers. We just aren’t likely to see much of him down the stretch.