Up the Middle: Jurickson Profar
Happy Thanksgiving! I’m sure all of us can think of at least one small thing that we can be grateful for today. For me, this month brought the birth of my second child, a baby girl, and gratitude is definitely one of the many strong emotions that comes with being a new parent. On the baseball front, the Rangers made a major play to free up their logjam in the middle infield by trading Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers. Since I own Jurickson Profar in a dynasty league, I couldn’t help but feel all warm and tingly inside when I heard the news. After bouncing around the Texas infield last year, I’d imagine Profar is more than grateful for the opportunity to show what he can do with everyday at bats in 2014. But will he suddenly put it all together in 2014 and live up to the massive hype that surrounded him prior to the 2013 season? I’m not so sure…
Personally, I landed Profar in a deadline deal with a contender halfway through the 2013 season. It was a good deal for both of us. The contender needed to part with Profar’s inconsistent playing time and low counting stats, while I was in a semi rebuilding mode and looked at Profar as a player I could build around. But I’m not going to get all in a tizzy about this recent Kinsler trade and start counting my Profar chickens before they hatch, thinking that playing time was Profar’s only roadblock to greatness. Fantasy baseball, especially dynasty league fantasy baseball, takes a lot of patience. I don’t expect anything particularly extraordinary from my shiny new toy in 2014, despite the fact that he is probably one of the most talented young players out there. Mike Newman, a fantasy writer whom I respect a great deal, said it best in a recent Rotoscouting newsletter:
“My guess is he’ll hit in the seven, eight or nine hole in 2014. The bottom of the order is pretty weak in Texas, so I worry his run and RBI totals will wind up in the 55-65 range over the course of a full season. 2014 might be an opportunity to scoop him up from an impatient owner at some point. Don’t expect a breakout campaign until 2015 at the earliest.”
This was a refreshing viewpoint and a nice reality check for guys like me who were chomping at the bit to see Profar play every day. It’s also a great reminder that even dynasty league owners can get a little impatient. After a 2013 season in which he produced 6 homers, 2 stolen bases, and a .234 average in a little over 300 PA, Profar owners may not be in the mood for another “disappointing” season. In other words, even a top prospect talent like Profar has to be looked at as part of a dynasty team’s long term plan rather than short term solution.
Prospect letdown can be a bitch, so let’s try to remember the glowing reports from scouts on his hit tool and makeup before getting our undies in a knot. He is only 21 after all, and while he struggled against lefties in 2013, he did manage to keep his strikeout percentage south of 20% and his line drive percentage north of 23%. There’s no reason to believe he isn’t who we thought he was, it just might not all come to fruition in the next calendar year despite a significant boost in playing time. It’s hard to be patient when you’re sitting on one of the better young talents in the game, but that’s exactly what I’ll have to be – patient.
Somebody told me that happiness isn’t always about getting what you want when you want it. It’s about being grateful for what you have while you have it. I’m going to enjoy watching Profar play this year and I’m thrilled to own him in a dynasty league, even if his numbers aren’t going to carry my middle infield right away. I’d recommend others do the same, and look to acquire him from impatient owners who aren’t willing to endure growing pains.