The Texas Rangers have advanced to consecutive World Series berths – coming within a strike of winning one – in large part to the contributions that shortstop Elvis Andrus has provided atop the lineup and in the field. We have yet to see a monster breakout season, but Andrus has shown steady improvement at the plate to go along with his Gold Glove caliber defense. There are a number of rosters that would be significantly upgraded with the addition of Andrus. Despite this, the Texas Rangers might be forced to move him this offseason because stud shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar is knocking on the door.
Profar is currently raking in Double-A as a 19 year old with a .295/.372/.481 triple slash line with 34 extra-base hits and a 39-49 BB/K ratio. In addition to nice stick work, Profar also possesses the tools that will allow him to develop into a good defender at the big league level. We’re basically looking at a potential five-tool stud. It will be interesting to see how much longer the Rangers leave Jurickson Profar at Double-A. He could probably make the jump to the bigs and hold his own. Much more likely though is that he sees a healthy dose (that could be half a season in this case) of Triple-A action while the Rangers work on clearing a spot for him. One scout that was cited in Baseball America’s 2012 Prospect Handbook likened Profar to a Hanley Ramirez – type talent with Dustin Pedroia – type mental makeup.
Ideally the Rangers would just move Elvis Andrus to second base or third base. Aside from the fact that he does not profile for the latter, Andrus is blocked by Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre, respectively. Could the team convert Andrus into a center fielder? It’s not TOO far-fetched, but that transition is a lot easier said than done and considering the type of packages the Rangers could receive, the smarter money might be on a trade.
Jurickson Profar projects as the better player long-term so one way or another he will probably end up manning shortstop for the Texas Rangers sooner rather than later. If and when he does make Elvis Andrus available, GM Jon Daniels can expect to be glued to his iPhone 5.