With the news that Marlon Byrd had signed with the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday, today's post could have gone one of two ways: profile an Andy Dirks clone or dream about what could happen if the organization had an eye for Caribbean infield talent.
Who is he?
A 20 year old shortstop from Curacao -- I think they grow them on trees there -- Profar was the consensus top prospect in baseball heading into the 2013 season. He put up an .883 OPS in Single-A in 2011 and an .820 OPS in Double-A in 2012, both of which are remarkably impressive for a teenager. He posted an .807 OPS at Triple-A Round Rock in 2013 before being called up to the majors full-time in late May. He only appeared in 85 of the team's 118 games after his call-up, largely because the Rangers already had a pair of middle infielders entrenched in the lineup in Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus.
Why should we care?
It's not everyday that the top prospect in baseball hits the trade block, but there simply isn't room for Profar on the Rangers' roster as it currently stands. Lone Star Ball, SB Nation's Rangers blog, had this to say about Profar before the '13 season:
Jurickson Profar, though toolsy, isn't that sort of player. His tools, by all accounts, rate as solid across the board, but he doesn't have any one truly elite tool that stands out like, say, Joey Gallo’s light-tower power or Billy Hamilton’s incredible speed. What Profar does have, though, is what has been described as "off-the-charts makeup," terrific baseball instincts, and a maturity beyond his years. He's a five-tool player, but unlike many five tool guys who are athletes that organizations are trying to turn into ballplayers, Profar is a ballplayer with athleticism.
Meanwhile, Minor League Ball's John Sickels was a bit more to-the-point:
Put simply and succinctly, Jurickson Profar kicks ass.
He's young, talented, and under club control for a long time. Also, his Twitter bio reads "employee of the Texas Rangers." What's not to love?
Why should we stay away?
The only reason the Tigers should not be incessantly calling about Profar is if the asking price is too outrageous for them to afford without mortgaging next season's World Series chances... which it probably will be. Nick Castellanos and Max Scherzer? No thanks. Other than that, there really isn't a reason to love the idea of Profar in a Tigers uniform.
Will he end up in Detroit?
I'll just flat out say it: this will not happen. Rangers GM Jon Daniels knows what he has in Profar and won't trade him for pennies on the dollar. Castellanos is a nice prospect, but he's a level below Profar and isn't nearly enough to get the deal done by himself. Names like Giancarlo Stanton and David Price have been thrown around in Profar trade rumors and the Tigers don't have the secondary prospects to package around Castellanos to entice the Rangers into parting with their young stud.
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