Jurikson Profar is one the top two prospects in baseball. Like the other top prospect, Dylan Bundy, Profar made a cameo appearance at the big league level in 2012. The Rangers used Profar sparingly, as they already have a terrific shortstop in place. Soon, Profar is sure to force the Rangers hand and insert himself into their lineup.
There just aren’t that many teenaged, switch-hitting shortstops who make the big leagues at 19. Profar is on the fast track, a player Keith Law describes as one who improves even as the level of competition increases and shows no holes in his game.
The Rangers are on to something quite special – and they have the luxury of taking their time with this incredibly valuable asset. Profar ranked as Law’s top prospect in baseball after his midseason update and sat atop Kevin Goldstein`s midseason list as well.
What if they did jump him to an everyday job in the big leagues in 2013? What if they traded him, perhaps in a fabled Giancarlo Stanton package? What kind of numbers would the 20-year old put up this year? Let’s ask the projection systems what they think.
The toughest thing about creating realistic projections for Jurickson Profar is simply a lack of data. 1300 minor league plate appearances all below Triple-A and a minute 17 PA run at the big leagues means lots of guessing and regressing. Lots and lots of and lots of guessing.
In those minor league plate appearances, Profar has been nothing short of spectacular. A .395 wOBA in his first full season of pro ball in High-A at 18. A .364 wOBA in his first full season at double-A at 19. Double digit home runs and steals in both those seasons. Double digit walk rates as a minor leaguer. The future is bright indeed. ZiPS thinks his future is so bright, it could eclipse the production of Elvis Andrus already.
ZiPS – .263/.331/.414, .322 wOBA, .299 BABIP, 31 2B, 6 3B, 13 HR, 17 SB, 3.2 WAR.
Compare that to Andrus’ projected line of .276/.346/.356 – a little bit more on base but nearly half the power. Which would you prefer?
As there is effectively no big league experience to draw on, this is all pie in the sky for Profar. Scouts and evaluators love his tools and the consensus is he realistically could step in and compete right now. Only five full-time shortstops bettered a .322 wOBA. It is nearly identical to the numbers put up by Erick Aybar, Starlin Castro, and Jimmy Rollins. All three of those players signed contracts over the last 12 months.
Starlin Castro signed a seven-year deal worth $60 million ahead of his first arbitration year this past August. Erick Aybar signed for four years and $35 mil in April, during his final year of arbitration. And Jimmy Rollins re-signed with the Phillies as a free agent last offseason, agreeing to a three-year deal worth $33 mil and an option for a fourth after his age 33 season.
In other words, Jurickson Profar would already be among the elite players at the most elite position, were he able to post the type of season ZiPS projects. As a reminder: Jurickson Profar turns 20 in one month.
CAIRO thinks Profar comparably to ZiPS in this case, expecting big things from the Rangers shortstop of the future.
CAIRO – .257/.326/.408, .324 wOBA, 29 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 13 SB.
Nearly the same numbers as ZiPS. So all the things said above plus a little bit more. All the things!
Don’t think these projections are sunny enough? Think Profar should step in and be one of the best shortstops in baseball RIGHT NOW? Then have we got the projection system for you! Take it away, Bill.
Bill James – .264/.341/.425, .336 wOBA, .291 BABIP, 32 2B, 6 3B, 16 HR, 20 SB.
Yikes. That is, um, wow. And the fans think he’ll be even better!
Let’s not get carried away. Does anyone really believe Jurickson Profar will, in his first trip around the league, be a better player than Elvis Andrus in nearly every way? I do not. He’ll be 20! Andrus was good during his age-20 season but not that good.
I have no idea what the Rangers should do with Jurickson Profar. If they think he can help their team more than Andrus, they need to move the current shortstop because teams will line up around the block for an established All Star shortstop with two years remaining on his current deal. Should Texas consider moving Profar to second base and dumping Ian Kinsler at first? I said no ten days ago and still believe it now.
Keep Profar a shortstop. Let him be play shorstop every day. Even these rosy projections lose some lustre when framed in a second base context. If Profar lights up Triple-A in such a way that Jon Daniels has no choice but to find him a spot – so be it. We should all be burdened with such conundrums.