As we anxiously await the beginning of spring training, let’s indulge in some fantasy baseball player prospect talk. This series on prospects will cover a wide range of players as well as positions. We’ll hit on sleepers as well as some of the more obvious stars of the future.
The first prospect in the series is a player who has moved through the Texas Rangers system very quietly, despite being successful at every stop along the way. The Rangers signed Jurickson Profar as an international free agent in 2009 out of Curaçao as a 16-year old. Profar is a switch-hitting shortstop with an athletic 6’0”, 170 pound frame.
Profar is polished well beyond his years and he has good, but not great, tools. His ceiling seems to be a bit limited but that polish gives him a leg up on his competition at the lower levels of the minors. It’s not hard to see him becoming an everyday shortstop that can provide value with the bat, which is what we want in fantasy baseball.
Profar has held his own in his two professional seasons, and both of those leagues were dominated by guys three or four years older.
The skill set seems to be complete, with no glaring weaknesses. His glove and arm are both well above average, so he will play as a shortstop when he reaches the Majors. Finding a hitter to play a position with depth this shallow is tough and Profar won’t disappoint.
Profar is a natural hitter with a very quick swing who can put the bat on the ball from both sides but is better from the right side of the plate. He has a mature approach at the plate with good strike zone recognition and the ability to wait on his pitch to find the one he can turn on. His power is developing, and he has good power for a player his size, but don’t expect gaudy homerun totals. His power will likely only develop to an average level, driving the ball through the gaps.
He has above average speed right now but expect his speed to settle at average when his body fills out. He is a smart base runner with very good field awareness and plays the game at a high speed. He won’t be a top notch base stealer, but double digit steals is a good bet.
Profar has great leadership and is the kind of guy you want in your clubhouse. Unfortunately that doesn’t really project to the fantasy world, unless you consider that he will likely have a long career.
He has a good bat and good wheels that will make him an attractive player to have on your keeper squad. A good comparison is Alexei Ramirez with a better ability to get on base to help his team and a better attitude. His bat will never be as good as Bryce Harper’s, but the position scarcity will make him arguably as valuable.
His estimated time of arrival in the big leagues is late 2013 or early 2014. The conservative assessment puts him as a guy who makes several All-Star teams in his career while the more aggressive report shows him as a franchise player. To play it in between, look for a second tier shortstop for more than a decade. He probably won’t be a superstar, but his bat will always be a positive for your fantasy squad. Grab him now because he will be worth holding on to for a long time.