Scouting Notes: Profar Looks Like a Star
The same can be said for Royals' catching prospect Wil Myers, who despite having some difficulties in some early advanced instructs plate appearances, continues to show off some plus tools as an offensive player. Here's the latest from fall instructs in Arizona, including an update on Rangers prospect Tanner Scheppers (pictured at right).
Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers -- There may not be a more impressive player taking the field in Arizona right now than 17-year-old Jurickson Profar. The Rangers have had their highly touted switch-hitter suiting up in many of the advanced instructional league games, where he is routinely matched up against much older and far more experienced competition. To his credit, Profar has looked like a star even amongst these much more experienced players.
At this moment, Profar is not a player that profiles to hit for plus power, but what he does exceptionally well is drive the ball with authority to all parts of the field from both sides of the plate. He has good carry on line drives to the gap and shows a very consistent command of the zone. The swing, particularly from the left side, looks very compact and quick on the pitch on the inner third. Again, he doesn't show off a lot of natural lift but if he can learn to do that he hits the ball hard enough to hit the ball out consistently someday.
Although it is Profar's clearly advanced switch-hitting that sets him apart, he also showed some strong action at shortstop in Arizona. He has a clear plus arm that allows him to play the position, and the first step in the hole to his backhand side was consistently quick as well. In other words, this looks like a young kid who, if he can keep his body agile and athletic, fits the profile of an offensive shortstop that can handle the position.
Wil Myers, C, Royals -- There are some legitimate holes in Wil Myers' game he'll need to work on, but those holes for now are far outweighed by his immense promise at the plate. He showed off colossal power in game action as well as in batting practice, and continues to proved he can drive the ball to any part of the park.
Many of my early impressions of Myers were somewhat negative as I watched him flail at offerings on the outside part of the plate, but to his credit, he was able to adjust on the fly. When you can see a player that young make those adjustments it's almost as impressive as those plus raw tools. Myers hits from an open stance, and does tend to bail with his hips on the slow stuff on the outer half, but when he does allow the ball to travel, he shows off that plus hand speed that allows him to drive the ball to right field. As far as pitches on the inner half, you just might want to avoid that area with Myers in general. He's as quick in there as you'll see from a player his age.
Mike Olt, 3B, Rangers -- Clearly one of the best power bats at instructs for any squad in Arizona, Olt is both a product of being older and stronger than many other players at this stage and a very sound and powerful righty stroke. The righty-swinging third baseman puts on an absolute show in batting practice, and showed he can do some serious damage when he's allowed to extend his arms. With his big extension and strong finish he's able to produce big carry to the deepest parts of the park. He does have some issues on the inner half, but we'll have to see how that plays out against advanced pitching.
Fabio Castillo, RHP, Rangers -- Castillo has been cranking the fastball up to as high as 97 mph in instructs so far, and for the most part has been able to stay around the plate. Working at 93-95 mph consistently and with ease, he's shown he can miss bats with that plus fastball, as well as with his secondary pitches.
Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Rangers -- I've seen Scheppers have better days than the day I saw him pitch in advanced instructs, but even on a bad day, the stuff is still very good. Sitting at 92-96 mph with the fastball, Scheppers struggled a bit with his command and had difficulty getting to his plus breaking ball. There are still some minor command issues in general he'll need to work on, and you can see why the Rangers, despite his gaudy minor league numbers, felt he needed more minor league seasoning.
Pat White, OF, Royals -- White has been held out of game action early in fall instructs, but he has been doing a lot of work in the cage. And the results so far, at the very least, have been highly intriguing. Given his background on the football field, his outstanding athleticism doesn't come as much of a shock, but he shows some flashes in batting practice that at least make you think he has a shot on the baseball field. White showed he could drive the ball well out of the park to right-center and his hands looked quick through the zone. It's a longshot and we'll have to see how game action goes for him, but we can certainly confirm the raw ability is still very much in place.
Jacob Petricka, RHP, White Sox -- Petricka was a name that seemed to pop up late before the draft this past spring, and it's now very clear why Chicago elected to take him 63rd overall. His stuff looked downright dominant at times against a tough Rangers instructs squad on Wednesday, and the White Sox have to be thrilled with their early returns.
Sitting 92-95 with a heavy sinking fastball and reaching as high as 97 mph, Petricka has the look of a pitcher who can be a groundball machine and break a lot of bats. Couple that plus fastball with a potential plus low-80s changeup and you have a guy with frontline stuff. But, right now he still has some command issues in the strike zone and his delivery is still somewhat crude. And, the breaking ball will have to come along as well. The framework, however, given his tall, long frame and potential two plus offerings, is certainly there for him to be a shut-down type arm at the next level.
Luke Jackson, RHP, Rangers -- Jackson likes his fastball and goes to it often, and although he's a bit crude he's a live arm worth watching closely. I had him consistently working at 91-93 mph with the fastball, reaching as high as 94. He did labor at times and had some trouble locating his promising curveball, but overall showed a high ceiling.
Frankie Piliere spent the last three seasons working as a scout, most recently in the professional scouting department for the Texas Rangers in 2009. He now serves as the National Baseball Analyst here at FanHouse.