The Ups and Downs of Following a Number One Prospect

Photo Credit: Keith Allison | Flickr

by: Andy Zsiga @zsiga_andy

Prospects are hard to read. Fans across the nation look at their top minor leaguers dreaming of the next MVP or Cy Young. 

They praise the developing crop in the morning and curse them for their mishaps in the evening, a never-ending youthful what have you done for me lately spat.

Jurickson Profar was just traded in a three-team deal from the Texas Rangers to the Oakland A’swith the Tampa Bay Rays jumping in to make the deal work out, ending his up and down stint with the Rangers.

The plight and journey of Profar’s time with the Rangers is, from a fan’s point of view, a wild roller coaster of love and hate. 

It began for many of us with an “I can’t believe we have the number one prospect in baseball! Please be better than Mike Trout! Please!” 

Next, we were saying, “Don’t screw this up! Don’t let Mike Olt happen again!” 

The next stage was a disappointment, “Oh man! Injured, and we didn’t trade him? We traded Kinsler, and now this! Great, let’s trade him for peanuts!”  We then followed with, “ Well, maybe he can play again. He is going to come back and make the Rangers great again!” “Trash! Pure Trash! Punt him! Cut him!” Then as the last year got going, “I told you he would come back and be great! Extend him! He is the future!”

For those of you that are lost, in 2013, Profar, at the young age of 20, vaulted to the coveted number one overall prospect in all of baseball. 

Rangers fans were given much hope on the development of one of their own prospects. 

Unfortunately, Jurickson’s growth was stunted in 2014 by a shoulder injury, and it lingered through a majority of 2015. In 2016, the 23-year-old former number one prospect was blocked from having an everyday spot on the Rangers. In 2017, his lack of an everyday spot, combined with poor play, led to a demotion to Triple-A. He was seemingly cast off to the land of busts. 

Profar ended up getting a chance to play consistently this last year, and the time paid off, with Profar earning 2 war and an OPS+ of 105. 

While these numbers are far from the best in baseball, they are more than serviceable, and it seems as though the 25-year-old will improve more as he plays the same position for an entire year (rather than being a super utility guy).

We have so much information readily available as fans, causing ourselves to react quickly and often times ridiculously, to every part of our team’s prospects development. Patience is gone. 

I am thankful for front offices who make rational decisions and wait for the right time for a deal. In Profar’s case, rumors of teams wanting him on the cheap have been going on for quite some time. While I would have preferred Profar to be the premier player in baseball, I am glad that the Rangers were able to get something for him.

The last five years have been rough for Profar, and there were many murmurs of how upset he was being relegated to Triple-A in 2017. Talks about an extension did not make any traction (according to Rangers' beat writers),  so it seems he will relish the chance at a change of scenery. 

Rangers' fans, if you are disappointed in this result, remember a big part of a rebuild is about the timing of your prospects reaching the big leagues. Unfortunately, Profar does not fit the Rangers timeline for success, so they found some lottery tickets within that timeframe.

I am excited for him and, at the same time, I hope we have found the next player to attach our dreams and visions to.

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