Every Monday I take a look at a prospect who could be arriving in the big leagues soon, and could have an impact on your fantasy team very soon. Today's prospect was recently rated by our own Bret Sayre as the #1 prospect for fantasy purposes when we released our midseason prospect rankings, and could be a top 5 shortstop once he gets to the Majors. That prospect? Jurickson Profar, of the Texas Rangers.
Weight: 165 lbs.
On 40-man roster: No
While still in Little League, Profar was a key player on two straight LLWS teams from Curacao, as the team won the championship in 2004, and lost in the championship in 2005. Fast forward 4 years, and the shortstop signed with the Texas Rangers on July 2, 2009.
The team sent him to Spokane in the Northwest League for the 2010 season, and despite being just 17 years old for the whole season, posted a respectable .250/.323/.373 with 4 home runs and 8 stolen bases in 63 games. Baseball America ranked him as their #74 prospect after the 2010 season, and things really started to get interesting regarding Profar.
The team pushed Profar aggresively for the 2011 season, sending him to their full-season Low-A affiliate in Hickory. He had a monster year, posting a .286/.390/.493 slash line with 86 runs scored, 12 HR, 65 RBI, and went 23 for 32 on stolen base attempts. As great as those numbers were, the 65 walks he drew against 63 strikeouts really showed a player with a very good eye at the plate for his age. This all culminated with him winning the MVP award for the South Atlantic League, and was ranked as the #7 prospect by Baseball America.
Despite not having played above Low-A, the Rangers pushed Profar hard again this year, skipping over High-A and sending him directly to AA. This doesn't appear to have affected him particularly, as he is hitting .294/.375/.473 with 7 home runs and 9 stolen bases through 71 games played. He will represent the World team in the Futures Game for the second straight season as well.
What's Stopping Him From Contributing Right Now?
As I see it, there are likely two main things keeping Profar from playing every day for the Rangers right now.
1) He has not played above AA yet - Ideally, with a player as young as Profar (still just 19 years old this year), you'd like to give him time to really show what he can do at both AA and possibly even AAA before contemplating bringing him up.
2) There really is no spot for him in the Majors right now - Currently, the Rangers have Elvis Andrus holding down the shortstop position, and Ian Kinsler holding down 2B. There has been discussion that the Rangers could move Kinsler to left field to make room for Profar at a future date, but this assumes that the Rangers do not end up resigning current left fielder Josh Hamilton.
What Could He Do When He Is Called Up?
Profar's game does not really profile as having one particular category where he would be an elite-level producer. That said, he should provide above average production in all 5 standard categories. I could very well see a .285-.290 hitter who can provide 10-15 home runs, 90-100 runs scored, 70+ RBI, and 20-25 stolen bases, all while potentially playing shortstop. The production will play regardless of the position realistically.
When Does He Seem Likely to Get There?
How Josh Hamilton's free agency plays out could really have an effect on what Profar's timetable could be. If the Rangers are not able to resign Hamilton, we could see the Rangers make that shift and send Kinsler to left field, and one of Profar and Andrus could end up moving to 2B as a result. If Hamilton does end up resigning with the Rangers (which I would put as the more likely occurrence), it might take a trade of Andrus to open up the spot for Profar permanently. Either way, I don't think it is very likely that he will be up to start the 2013 season, and also unlikely to be up during the rest of this season.
There's a reason he is rated so highly both for fantasy and real-life purposes, as he will likely be a top 5 player at his position for both purposes. If for some reason he remains available in your dynasty and keeper leagues, he is absolutely the top person to try and acquire.