Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): Has everything necessary to be a face of the franchise player, on and off the field.
The Player: Jurickson Profar (SS, Texas Rangers) – A high profile signing by the Rangers in 2009, Profar has blown people away from the minute he stepped on the field in short-season ball. At just 17-year old he hit .250 with 23 extra-base hits, 28 walks and only 46 strikeouts in 63 contests against much older competition. He followed that up as one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League last year, hitting an impressive .286/.390/.493 in 115 games. He ripped 37 doubles, eight triples and 12 home runs while walking more than he struck out.
Body: Good athlete with excellent coordination. Thin frame though he has strength and continues to get stronger without bulking up.
Makeup: Off the charts. Calm, cool and collected on the field. Exceptional work ethic before and after games and during the off-season. Extremely confident player. Very personable and outgoing. High maturation level for his age.
Hit: Potential elite hitter. Is more consistent and sound from the right side but has taken quickly to hitting from the left side after only starting since signing in 2009. Simple swing mechanics and basic load allow him to get the bat to the zone quickly and consistently. Tremendous hand-eye coordination. Can manipulate the bat mid-swing to make contact. Has plus bat speed to catch up to good fastballs. Uses the entire field well and can hit any pitch in any part of the zone. Grade – 40/70
Power: Mostly from the right side but bat speed is there for lefty pop down the line. Line drive oriented swing that wears out the gaps. Some scouts don’t see long term home run power while others see above-average pop. Will be a doubles machine no matter what and could end up with at least 15 home runs easily. Grade (raw power) – 30/50
Arm: Gets rid of the ball quickly and consistently with tremendous accuracy. Plus raw arm strength and he can put a little extra on it when he has time to reach back. Grade – 60/60
Fielding: Love his range to both sides. Exceptional instincts and a nearly flawless first step. Reads hops very well and understands pre-pitch positioning. Soft hands and excellent footwork. Makes plays look easy while possessing ability to make the dazzling play as well. Believes he can make every play and will try to do too much at times. Slim chance he’s as good as he’ll be defensively but I’m being aggressive and think he’ll end up with a plus-plus glove. Grade – 60/70
Speed: Decent runner that will show average speed once underway. Plays up on bases because of plus-plus instincts. Needs to continue improving his reads on pitchers to maximize his running ability. Grade – 50/50
Summation: At times, shows all five tools at least an average level right now with some projection remaining on several of them. Elite makeup allows tools to play at their maximum level and gives him superstar potential. You have to nit-pick to find areas for him to improve. Much of his continued development will simply be facing more advanced competition and continuing to adjust. Ceiling could be a .300 hitter with 40 doubles, 15 home runs, 15 steals and plus defense.
Relative Risk: Moderate. The only reason it is not low is because he’s still a teenager. He’s about as low a risk teenager as you’ll find. Broad skill set and exceptional makeup give him outstanding chance to reach ceiling.
Future: Texas plans to send Profar to High-A Myrtle Beach to start the year and his performance could force the club to promote him to Double-A at 19-years old. It’s hard not to get excited about his future but there is no rush with him due to the presence of Elvis Andrus in Arlington. The Rangers may need to begin planning to make room for Profar at some point in the 2013 season, though he may not begin his career at shortstop. No matter what, his baseball IQ and offensive abilities should allow him to succeed right out of the gate.