Archive for the ‘Jurickson Profar’ Category

MLB: Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels

The Texas Rangers are a uniquely positioned baseball club. Few teams appear as dedicated to winning as the Rangers, a club that used its considerable wealth to engineer the Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder trade, taking on a very significant amount of salary to upgrade their offense.

In addition to spending on players like Prince Fielder (not to mention extending Kinsler (twice) and signing shortstop Elvis Andrus to a longterm deal), the Rangers have a deep pool of prospects to draw from, should they opt to spend some of that prospect capital in search of a difference maker. And yet, other than the Matt Garza trade, the Rangers seem more interested in holding their prospects than moving them (until, of course, they do move them en masse.)

Despite spending as they do and taking such definitive steps to improving their team on a regular basis, the Rangers haven’t quite reached the top of the mountain. They came as close as any team can without winning, reaching the World Series in two consecutive seasons. Then came the famous collapse of 2012 and, to a lesser extent, 2013.

The Rangers are in tough in the AL West against the bewildering A’s and the free-spending Angels. Both their World Series close call and 2013 pre-playoff game show just how much a single game matters. Which makes me wonder about their willingness to role with their as-yet-unproven young players.

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Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners

The Cinderella Dutch team might get a nice boost as they attempt to halt the clock just before midnight. Reports out of Dallas indicate Jurickson Profar, the consensus best prospect in baseball, could join the Netherlands team in time for the World Baseball Classic semifinals next week in San Francisco.

Profar’s name appears on the Dutch roster though he initially declined the invitation to play for his country(ish), opting to stay in camp with Texas. With the Oranje still alive and the time commitment considerably lessened, Profar says he will join his compatriots if they ask him to take part.

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For whatever reason, the MLB.com prospect rankings, put together by Jonathan Mayo, don’t receive the same attention as other “independent” rankings. Perhaps it is the Corporate Overlord aspect or the relative level of industry juice possessed by head rankmaster, but the MLB.com rankings slip by with little fanfare.

Well, they are unveiled with MAXIMUM FANFARE via a full TV production for MLB Network. Last night was the great reveal and who was at the top but…Jurickson Profar. Duh.

The Top 10 according to Mayo…

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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.

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As relayed in the link dump this morning, the Rangers relented on their original “plan” to move Ian Kinsler to first base in an attempt to make room for super prospect Jurickson Profar. Rangers GM Jon Daniels instead believes Profar will start the season in the minor leagues, keeping Kinsler at second base and giving Mitch Moreland a chance to earn more playing time at first.

The decision to keep Kinsler at second base also suggests Mike Olt will start the year in the minor leagues. Decisions like these are tough but make the Rangers the envy of many GMs around the league. Too much talent is never a bad thing, but how do the “win now” Rangers arrange their infield to get the most of their copious talent?

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You can debate the merits of expanded rosters in September, like my colleague Bill Parker did on Getting Blanked yesterday. Or you can marvel at how one player added to a roster on September 1 can immediately make a big difference for a contending team. Since the Impact Index is all about marveling at the difference one player makes in a particular game or week, we’re going to go with Option Two.

We’ll start with The Prospect. The Texas Rangers called up Jurickson Profar on Saturday. As Scott Lewis wrote, Profar is a highly touted and toolsy young middle infielder who hits for average and power, gets on base, runs fast and has a smooth glove. And I mean young. The first player born in 1993 to play in a Major League Baseball game.

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The Texas Rangers have added yet another intriguing piece to their already offensively endowed lineup. The Rangers will welcome one of baseball’s top prospects in Jurickson Profar as MLB rosters are set to expand today. The switch-hitting middle infielder has turned in a moderately impressive performance at Double-A Frisco this season (.281/.368/.452; 14 HR; 16 SB; 11.7 BB%) and holds the distinction of topping both Keith Law’s and Kevin Goldstein’s midseason top 50 prospect lists.

Profar will likely be used sparingly at shortstop and second base down the stretch, spelling Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler, while figuring into Ron Washington’s plan as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner. The 19-year old’s primary position is shortstop (97 games there at Double-A Frisco this season), but he’s made 25 appearances at second base and one at third base. His power and speed combo, positional versatility, and pedigree could very well propel him to a spot on the Rangers’ post-season roster.

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