Jurickson Profar? That guy who was on the top of every prospect list you could find back in 2012?
Yup, that’s him. The same Texas Rangers prospect who came up late in the 2012 season to help with the team’s postseason push, and was later given a significant role the following season before having his career nearly destroyed by injuries. What Profar is doing now is exactly what scouts had expected from the young middle-infielder four years ago. He has the ability to hit for average, has shown flashes of power, doesn’t have the best plate discipline but can draw walks, can swipe bags when needed, and most importantly for this article – he has an above average glove across the board.
I know what you’re thinking, “Glove? But we’re reading a fantasy article!” However, Profar’s versatility and glove will ultimately keep him on the Rangers roster for the remainder of the season. Between injuries, suspensions, and slumps, Profar has been able to stay in the lineup recently for the first-place Texas club. In doing so, he has proved he belongs slashing .333/.359/.493.
Profar’s bat has played a significant role in keeping him in the lineup. The only thing fantasy owners have to complain about so far is his 13:3 K/BB ratio. This of course coming in just 78 PA, so this article is going to be looking over lots of small samples. But oh well, that’s what we do in fantasy. One thing riders of the Profar Express have been delighted about this year is his 83% contact rate which tends, but does not guarantee, to lead to better fantasy stats. His heightened SLG% has to do with 6 of his first 25 going for extra-base hits (two doubles, two triples, and two home runs).
wOBA is one of my favorite advanced stats. It provides one of the best offensive indicators for batters as it creates value for each distinct offensive outcome. Profar sports a .365 wOBA through the first 18 games of his season which in relative terms is above league average. Although I would love to delve more into advanced stats, Profar’s plate appearances limit how much we can read into them.
It is worth noting that Profar has performed much better against RHP the season. In only 26 AB’s this season against LHP, Profar is hitting a meager .196 with just one run scored. Compare this to his eye-popping .408 AVG. in 49 AB’s against RHP – where the rest of his counting stats come from (2 HR, 4 RBI, 12 R). While these splits may suggest he is a prime platoon candidate, Profar has done enough recently to stay in the lineup. And keep in mind Profar is still just 23 years-old.
Earlier, I said with confidence that Profar has the ability to remain on the Rangers roster for the remainder of the season. Like other young prospects, it appears Profar has accepted that his team does not have any gaps to fill and is more than content playing where he is needed. So far this season, he has totaled one game at first base, eight games at second base, seven games at third base, and two games at designated hitter. This kind of versatility is valuable, especially to a team playing in first place.
Profar has made the most of the opportunities presented to him by Texas this season. He was originally called up to serve as the team’s second basemen while Rougned Odor was suspended for the rumble in Arlington. He then had a little time between first base and DH with Mitch Moreland and Prince Fielder struggling (although recently, not so much with Moreland). Now he is playing third base until Adrian Beltre returns, which presumably is tomorrow. With Shin-Soo Choo returning from the DL on Tuesday, the Rangers continue to mix and match with their corner outfielders.
Although it is not obvious where Profar will play upon Beltre’s return, I still want to roster him. The former top prospect has shown he belongs in the big leagues, and should he continue hitting the ball he will find his way into the lineup. It would be hard pressed for the Rangers to continue slotting Fielder in the middle of their lineup with him barely treading over the Mendoza Line, so DH is most certainly a possibility for Profar.
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