The Texas Rangers promoted infielder Jurickson Profar to the major league roster yesterday to replace the injured Ian Kinsler. Profar is one of the absolute best prospects in baseball right now and is the logical topic for today's Prospect of the Day.
Profar was well-known to scouts as an amateur, having starred for in amateur international play for Curacao. He was a very successful pitcher and many teams saw him as a top-notch mound prospect, but Profar preferred to hit and the Rangers loved his overall athleticism, seeing him as a classic shortstop with a strong bat. Signed for $1,550,000 in 2009, he made his pro debut with a .250/.323/.373 mark in 63 games in the Northwest League in '10. That might not sound great, but he was only 17 years old and scouts loved him.
Moved up to Low-A Hickory in 2011, Profar hit .286/.390/.493 (note the huge boost in SLG) with 37 doubles, 12 homers, 23 steals, and a sharp 65/63 BB/K ratio in 430 at-bats. Promoted to Double-A Frisco in 2012, he hit .281/.368./.452 with 14 homers, 16 steals, 66 walks, and 79 strikeouts in 480 at-bats. He got a cup-of-coffee in the majors, going 3-for-17 (.176) with a homer. He was hitting .278/.370/.438 with 21 walks and 24 strikeouts in 144 at-bats. This includes a .415 mark in his last 10 games.
Profar is a 6-0, 165 pound switch-hitter, born February 20, 1993. Despite his lack of classic size, he has good pop in his bat and should hit plenty of doubles, with more home runs coming as he matures. His running speed is above average but he's an instinctive stealer who should produce double-digits in that department as well. His plate discipline is sound and he does a good job making contact and drawing walks.
His range, hands, arm strength, and instincts all rate as strong; combine that with excellent instincts and he will be at least an above-average defender at shortstop. He would be outstanding at second base. Profar's makeup is considered off the charts, with an excellent work ethic, intelligence, confidence, and grace under pressure.
He may not have as huge home run power right now or be a .300+ hitter in the short run, but he's already a solid player. In the medium and long runs, Profar will contribute in every category, and at age 20 he is still six or seven years away from the classic age peak. He is the very definition of a Grade A prospect.