Prospect of the Day: Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers
Texas Rangers super-prospect Jurickson Profar is in the midst of an outstanding Double-A season for the Frisco Roughriders in the Texas League, solidifying his position as the best shortstop prospect in baseball.
Profar was signed by the Rangers as a free agent from Curacao in 2009, earning a $1,550,000 bonus. Well known to scouts since his days on the 2004 Curacao Little League World Series team, Profar didn't dominate in his first look at pro pitching, hitting .250/.323/.373 in 252 at-bats for Spokane. However, he was just 17 years old, more than held his own considering his age, and drew raves from scouts.
Profar moved up to Hickory in the South Atlantic League for 2011, hitting .286/.390/.493 with 37 doubles, 12 homers, 65 walks, and just 63 strikeouts in 430 at-bats. He also stole 23 bases, and drew positive reviews for his defense.
Promoted to Double-A Frisco for 2012, he's currently hitting .299/.365/.510 with six homers, 20 walks, 34 strikeouts in 194 at-bats, and seven steals in nine attempts. He's been especially hot over the last month, hitting .336/.397/.533 in May.
A switch-hitter listed at 5-11, 165, Profar was born February 20, 1993. He is a "fast twitch" athlete with a very live body. Although he doesn't look like a power hitter physically, his combination of bat speed and outstanding plate discipline makes him very dangerous, especially from the right side, where his power manifests itself more frequently. With maturity, he should post double-digit home run numbers along with plenty of doubles and triples. Profar's sense of the strike zone is advanced, and he'll be a strong OBP threat as well.
On defense, he features plus range and plus arm strength at shortstop. His error rate isn't bad for such a young player, and his reliability will continue to improve. Despite average running speed, he's adept on the bases and a threat to steal. His makeup and intelligence are exceptional. He has no significant flaws, and the main thing he needs is simple experience.
Given the fact that they already have Elvis Andrus, the Rangers aren't in a position where they have to rush Profar. Nevertheless, at his current rate of development, he'll be ready for the majors within a year, projecting as a star on both sides of the ball. Profar has been everything the Rangers could have possibly hoped he could be when they invested in him.