Rangers Final Report
The youngest player in the low Class A South Atlantic League this year was shortstop Jurickson Profar
, and he did more than just hold his own against advanced competition.
Profar, the best position player in a deep Rangers system, put up impressive offensive numbers to help lead Hickory to the SAL playoffs. The 18-year-old hit .286/.390/.493 with 12 home runs, 37 doubles, 65 RBIs and 23 steals for the Crawdads in his first full professional season. Seven years removed from starring in the Little League World Series, Profar is also an above-average defender at a premium position.
Most within the organization believe that Martin Perez is the Rangers' best prospect, pitching or otherwise, but Robbie Ross
beat out his fellow lefthander for top mound honors this year. Ross, 22, started the season at high Class A Myrtle Beach in a rotation that included trade pieces Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin, and moved to Double-A Frisco after that duo was dealt to the Padres. Ross, the Carolina League pitcher of the year, went a combined 10-5, 2.61 with 134 strikeouts and 33 walks over 161 innings. Ross features a low-90s fastball along with a hard slider and a good changeup. He goes right after hitters with a bulldog demeanor on the mound.
Keep An Eye On:
Talk about young. Catcher Jorge Alfaro
is four months younger than Profar. Signed in January 2010 to a $1.3 million bonus, Alfaro held his own in the short-season Northwest League this year. The Colombian catcher finished the season hitting .300/.345/.481 with six homers and 23 RBIs in 160 at-bats for Spokane. Despite the good numbers, Alfaro still has plenty to work on. He lacked plate discipline (54 strikeouts to three unintentional walks) in his first domestic season, though he showed solid defense behind the plate, above-average arm strength and raw power.
• Round Rock skipper Bobby Jones was named the Pacific Coast League manager of the year after guiding the Express to a division title and the most wins ever for a Rangers Triple-A franchise.
• The Rangers had five affiliates, including the top four levels, qualify for the postseason for a third consecutive year. The team's Rookie-level Arizona League team joined Round Rock, Frisco, Myrtle Beach and Hickory.