September Call-Ups: The Emergency Jurickson Profar Edition
This is not a test. My #1 dynasty league prospect in baseball, Jurickson Profar of the Texas Rangers, is getting called up to the majors today. You remember what happened the last time the player who was #1 on my list came up to the majors, right? This one is very different in the short-term, but Profar projects as a fantasy stalwart in the long-term. In fact, I’d be surprised if Profar got more than 30-40 at bats down the stretch — this is nothing new to the Rangers, who called up Leonys Martin last September only to give him 8 at bats. Despite the fact that he will be playing sparingly, Profar is a must-grab for all keeper/dynasty league owners.
When Profar signed with the Rangers back in 2009, he was already as known of a commodity in the United States as any 16-year old international signee in the last decade. This was because in 2004 and 2005, Profar led Curacao to the Little League World Series — including a 2004 championship. Still, he was not the top international prospect of his signing year, as he was seen by many to be more polish than upside. However, after he held his own in the Northwest League as a 17-year old (.250/..323/.370 with 4 HR, 8 SB and a 46/28 K-BB rate in 2010) and then much more than held his own in the Sally League as an 18-year old (.286/390/.493 with 12 HR, 23 SB and a 63/65 K-BB rate in 2011), Profar’s stock flew through the roof. He entered this season as my #5 dynasty league prospect behind four players who have since graduated to the majors (Trout/Harper/Moore/Montero), and he’s done nothing in 2012 to lose ground over those behind him.
Let’s go over the expectations. For those of you picking him up and thinking about plugging him into your lineups right away, you’re likely to be disappointed. While an injury to Andrus or Kinsler could give Profar real value down the stretch, neither of those two things have happened. His likely role is to spell them down the stretch and pinch hit late in games. In fact, in his last three games in the minors, the Rangers prepped him for this by having him come off the bench in all of them. Maybe he gets 40 at bats if the Rangers clinch early and he’d be hard pressed to make a difference even if he hits right away. He’s not taking a job away from anyone no matter how he hits.
But long-term, Profar is a franchise cornerstone of any dynasty league team. He has the potential to be a Pythagorean Player (.300/.400/.500) — and from a fantasy perspective, his upside is a .300 avg, 20 HR/SB and 100 runs at one of the scarcest positions around. If he does what he’s capable of, he can be the good Shin-Soo Choo statistically, but at shortstop. So while he may never be the #1 fantasy player in baseball for a given season (a la Mike Trout), Profar should be able to offer you the kind of consistent top-shelf performance that makes you not have to worry about the position for more than a decade. Add in his favorable home park and the fact that he’ll be hitting in one of the league’s best lineups (read: more counting stats) and he can be a top-10 SS starting in 2013 if he has a job (read: if Andrus is traded or Kinsler is moved to LF).
In baseball history, there have only been 8 recorded seasons of 20 HR, 20 SB, a .300 AVG and 100 runs scored by a player who played at least 20 games at SS. Three of them were recorded by Hanley Ramirez from 2007-2009. Profar is capable of adding a 9th season to that list, and he won’t even turn 20 until after he arrives for Spring Training in 2013. Whatever FAAB you have left in the tank, take it and gladly hand it over for Jurickson Profar — there won’t be a better way to spend it the rest of the year.