Remember that feeling you used to get on Christmas Eve, giddy with excitement and unable to sleep? That’s how I’m feeling as I write this, because Jurickson Profar was called up on Sunday to replace the injured Ian Kinsler and is slated to start at second base on Monday.
If he’s on the waiver wire in your league, even in standard mixed leagues, go pick him up right now. If you’re in an AL-only league, he’s almost certainly already owned, but in mixed leagues he’s likely available, seeing as his ownership on Yahoo is currently 29 percent and just 9.8 percent on ESPN.
Profar, regarded by many as the best prospect in all of baseball, earned a cup of coffee with the big-league club last season as a 19-year-old after he hit .281/.368/.452 in Double-A. He started this year in Triple-A, and while his .278/.370/.438 line looks pretty good to start with, especially for a middle infielder, he has been absolutely raking lately. In his last ten games, Profar is hitting an absurd .415 with four walks and four strikeouts in 46 plate appearances, and he homered twice on Saturday before receiving the call-up on Sunday.
Still just 20 years old, Profar has a tremendously mature approach at the plate, as evidenced by the fact that he has 180 walks and 212 strikeouts in his minor-league career. He also possesses one of the best hit tools in the minors, and because of those two factors, he should be able to hit for a high average in the majors right now. Reaching 15 homers and 15 steals wouldn’t be out of the question in a full season, and with his on-base ability, he has the potential to score runs in bunches in the Rangers’ potent lineup.
The big question, of course, is what the Rangers will do with Profar when Kinsler is healthy. As the Twins have shown with Oswaldo Arcia—and which I predicted in this column three weeks ago—there are ways to get a talented player into the lineup on a full-time basis merely by using him to give the regulars days off. I certainly could see the Rangers following this model.
Another option would be to trade him to fill a need elsewhere, such as in the outfield or the rotation. Both Elvis Andrus and Kinsler are locked up for years and, on a pure baseball level, Profar has more value to other teams as a shortstop than he has to the Rangers as a second baseman/utility man. Every team wants an above-average defensive shortstop who can hit; the Rangers just happen to have one already.
Of course, the Rangers could just send him back down to Triple-A. After all, the kid is only 20 years old. If he doesn’t perform in the majors until Kinsler returns, it would be easily justifiable, and even practical, to send him back down. If he does perform, as I fully expect he will, the Rangers will have a very nice problem on their hands.
So why, with all the questions about his potential playing time, am I recommending owners in standard mixed leagues pick him up? It all comes down to a philosophical belief of mine regarding fantasy sports. My response to a question I received on Twitter regarding Profar sums it up nicely:
— Scott Strandberg (@ScottStrandberg) May 19, 2013
I can’t tell you whether Profar will be back in Triple-A three weeks from now. I can’t tell you if he’s ready for the majors. What I can tell you is that you do not win fantasy leagues if you are not willing to take risks. This used to be my Achilles’ heel in fantasy.
I was just not willing to take chances, and I always overvalued the players on my roster because I so badly wanted them to all be awesome. As a result, I perennially finished anywhere between third and sixth in my long-running, 12-team home league. I almost always made the playoffs, but I never won. It took me years to figure out why.
Not everyone on your roster is awesome. Jurickson Profar could be. Just go add him already.