Trade rumors are going to run rampant in the coming weeks, with Major League Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline coming up on July 31. Rumors will especially run wild with the Texas Rangers, who have reportedly been scouting the top two pitchers on the trade market -- Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels.
Lots of names are going to be brought up in the coming weeks from Texas' organization as being the apple of either Philadelphia or Milwaukee's eye. Cody Buckel, Martin Perez, Neil Ramirez, Justin Grimm, and Mike Olt's names all figure to come up in discussion.
Truly delusional fans will think that their club will have a chance to obtain Texas' top prospect, and perhaps even the top prospect in all of baseball, Jurickson Profar. This simply is not the case, as Profar is as untouchable to the Rangers as Mike Trout is to the Angels, or Bryce Harper is to the Nationals. He's that good.
Jon Daniels should sooner trade Josh Hamilton or Ian Kinsler before trading Profar. He's that good.
What, exactly, makes Profar, an AA shortstop, so special?
Let's take a look at the current state of Major League shortstops first and foremost.
Per FanGraphs headed into Sunday's action, Ian Desmond is the most valuable short stop in all of baseball... in 2012, at least. Desmond's 3.1 WAR is almost half a win better than Elvis Andrus' 2.7 WAR. Jed Lowrie, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jimmy Rollins round out baseball's five best shortstops over the first half of 2012.
Let's look a little closer at Desmond. He's sure hitting for power, with 16 home runs and a .224 ISO. The problem with Desmond, however, is that power is his only plus tool. He's walking an atrocious 4.5% of the time, and his .314 on base percentage is worthy of the seven or eight hole in the lineup.
Andrus is the American League's best shortstop, and he's clearly progressing with each year under his belt. Rangers fans already know about Andrus: plus speed, plus glove, and with his .370 OBP this year, he's shown that he can indeed hit at the top of the lineup. Looking for flaws in Andrus' game is somewhat nitpicky, since he's already the cream of the American League crop, but he doesn't hit for much power, as evidenced by his .301, .361 and .394 slugging percentages since 2010.
Andrus is certainly trending the right way, but let's face it -- baseball is a far, far, far cry away at the shortstop position than in years past. Say what you will about steroids, but Desmond, Andrus and Cabrera is nowhere near what Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter were.
This is where Profar comes in. He can be that good. Ok, maybe not Alex Rodriguez good -- that's one of the best players of all time, but Profar is a truly special talent. At age 19, Profar is hitting .292/.370/.476 in AA, with 19 doubles, six triples and nine home runs through 80 games.
Remember, he's 19 years old.
If you happened to watch the Futures Game on Sunday evening, you'd have seen a bit of what Profar can do. Profar took Jake Odorizzi, the United States' starting pitcher, deep in the first inning.
Profar is the type of player that a franchise can be built around. He's not going to be as good of a hitter as Trout or Harper, no, and he probably won't be as good in his rookie year as those two are -- they're spoiling baseball fans everywhere with their play.
But make no mistake, Profar is perhaps the most elite prospect in baseball, at baseball's most talent depraved position. No, he's not available in any trade discussions, and yes, Profar will almost certainly be the face of the franchise for years to come -- and he might be the player that makes Rangers fans forget about Josh Hamilton, after Hamilton leaves in free agency this winter.