Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Last year we watched Mike Trout and Bryce Harper tear the league apart at the seams in their rookie years. Trout in particular, after all Harper turned in a mere 4.5 WAR. (Fangraphs) Trout hammered out an amazing 10 WAR season in 2012. Manny Machado also delivered 1.3 WAR in only 202 plate appearances. It seems like it was the year of the rookie.
This year offers some exciting young players as well with Trout again terrorizing the AL and Machado following up a good year with another good year. Matt Harvey has been dazzling and Wil Meyers has been great in a short stint. Trout already has a 8.7 WAR and has a wRC+ of 178. Machado has a 5.4 WAR built largely on his sparkling defense. His wRC+ is 107; essentially average. Matt Harvey has the highest WAR among all pitchers (6.1) and has a FIP at 1.99. Wil Myers has only 245 plate appearances but has a 1.8 WAR. Myers also has a solid 123 wRC+. This leaves out many good players like Patrick Corbin, Gerrit Cole, and Chris Archer but needless to say some players have not had to adjust to the majors at all.
As a Rangers fan who keeps tabs on all of baseball I have not been able to refrain from dreaming on some of our young players. The Rangers have veterans. They are built on veterans. This is Adrian Beltre’s team. Our key guys, Kinsler, Andrus, Holland, Dravish etc are established pros. Our best pitchers are young but we know what they are. Still this team has some young guns to dream on, Leonys Martin, Martin Perez, and most of all Jurickson Profar.
I like Profar a lot. He’s fun to watch and before being called up he was the top prospect in the nation. I want him to be the next Mike Trout. I would even settle for him being the next Bryce Harper. Profar has looked good at times and has looked bad at times. We have seen him take close pitches and rip off good swings. He has also looked completely overmatched from time to time. The overall results, however, are not good. Jurickson has a negative WAR; -0.4. He is below replacement level through 265 plate appearances. His wRC+ is 72, the worst on the team for anyone with at least 100 plate appearances. His production at the plate has not been good his defense has not been great either. Only at third is his UZR positive. At shortstop he has been average but at second, where he has played the most, he has a negative UZR. (-0.3)
Profar has a lot of growing to do. Right now he is not major league caliber player. It is disappointing that Profar has not taken the league by storm. Clearly, Profar can and will improve, young players need time usually, but Trout and Harper have ruined our (my?) sense of when a young player should contribute. Profar’s scouting report indicates that he is average to above average at each “tool”. Perhaps he never will be a superstar but the way the Rangers’ front office seems to value him I have to think they believe he will be something special. It is time to reset my expectations on the the Jurickson Profar timetable. He is going to be good, he might even end up great, but he needs time. The Rangers’ front office believes in this kid so I do as well even with his slow start.