After being called up in mid-May when second baseman Ian Kinsler was put on the disabled list, Jurickson Profar filled a utility role for the Texas Rangers last season, as he saw time at four positions (SS, 2B, LF and 3B) and as a designated hitter (16 starts). He hit .324 (12-for-37) with two home runs and six RBI over his first 10 games, but he could not sustain that pace in his first extended big league action and finished with a .234/.308/.336 slash-line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) with six home runs and 26 RBI over 324 plate appearances.
By trading Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers earlier in the offseason, the Rangers sent a signal they are ready to move forward with Profar as their starting second baseman. But should fantasy baseball owners expect a breakout season in 2014?
MLB.com and Baseball America both had Profar as their No. 1 prospect entering 2013, but he will still only be 21 years old when the coming season starts. He played in the Dominican Winter League for a time this offseason, hitting .284/.398/.439 over 88 at-bats (per Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News) while reportedly drawing high praise from former major league manager Manny Acta, who served as general manager for the team he played on.
Profar showed an solid combination of power and speed as an 18 and 19-year old during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, hitting 26 home runs with 127 RBI and 39 stolen bases (in 52 attempts) over 910 combined at-bats. At this point there’s not much question he’ll be an across the board producer for fantasy owners very soon, but expecting a full breakout this year is a risky proposition.
Profar is one of the top players to own in keeper leagues right now, regardless of position, and depending on the position eligibility settings in your league he could be eligible at second base (32 games last season), third base (10 games) and shortstop (18 games) this year. I’d be hesitant to rely on Profar as my starting second baseman right out of the gate this year, but position flexibility and the strong likelihood of double-digit home runs and steals makes him draftable and roster-worthy in most fantasy leagues.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.