Name: Jurickson Profar
Notable 2011 Stats: .286/.390/.493 with 37 2B, 8 3B, 12 HR, 63/65 K/BB, and 23-for-32 SB in 115 games with Hickory (A)
Why He’s This High: While Bryce Harper, whom I profiled yesterday, got more attention, Profar was every but as stunning in his full-season debut, in his own way. As young as Harper was for the South Atlantic League, Profar is over four months younger, and he plays a more difficult defensive position, to boot.
Profar projects as the quintessential leadoff hitter, much like Harper is the ideal cleanup man. The shortstop switch-hits, runs well, and shows an incredibly advanced approach for his age–he walked more than he struck out in 2011, which is shocking given his youth. Furthermore, he ripped an extra-base hit every other game (57 in 115 contests), and could be an annual 15-20 HR player with a ton of doubles and triples.
Defensively, Profar is a sure bet to stick at shortstop. He has an extremely strong arm–in fact, Texas was the only team that were willing to not make him a pitcher in pro ball, which is why he signed with the Rangers in the first place–and good infield actions and range. Many young shortstops post obscene error totals in the low minors, but Profar already has his fielding percentage up above .950.
Why He’s This Low: There’s not a whole lot to dislike about Profar. He’s still far from the majors, of course, and he probably doesn’t have a truly elite power ceiling, but that hardly matters. While he is good at everything, he isn’t elite at that much beyond the approach–he’s probably more above-average than plus at shortstop, he isn’t a huge basestealer, and he’s not going to be a 40-HR guy. But it sure is hard to find bad things to say about him.
Conclusions: Comparing Profar to Harper is kind of an apples-to-oranges thing, because it boils down to “Do you want the middle-of-the-order corner player or the leadoff-hitting middle infielder?” Harper probably has more upside, but he also has a higher bar to clear when it comes to being truly elite at his position. But both players had unbelievable seasons, especially when considering their youth. It’s hard not to fall in love with Profar’s incredibly well-rounded game and see him as a key figure in the Texas organization: a player to (re)build around once the Hamilton/Cruz/Kinsler dynasty starts to fall apart.
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