Prospects or Padawans (Episode 1)

This is the first of a series of six, where I am looking back at the Rangers top 10 prospects (as ranked by Baseball America), of the Jon Daniels era. First up 2011:

Rangers General Manager, Jon Daniels, has been labeled by some as a ‘Jedi’, compared to other general managers. I agree with this comparison, so much that I’ll take it to another level.

Jon Daniels doesn’t have a minor league farm system- he has a ‘Baseball Jedi Training Academy’.  And he doesn’t look to draft and sign prospects, but padawans, who will become future Major League Jedi.

Routinely the Rangers seem to blaze their own scouting trail. They draft players like Jake Skole, Kellin Deglan, Zach Cone and Kevin Matthews, who other teams don’t seem to value as high. However it seems the Rangers are looking deeper, possibly…… midichlorian counts.

JURICKSON PROFAR– PADAWAN

This brings me to the inevitable comparison for the Ranger’s top padawan, Jurickson Profar. It has been noted many times, that Profar has great instincts for the game and has great make-up. Furthermore, he is the Rangers crown jewel of the Jedi Training Academy, and at the ripe age of 18, he’s younger than almost all his contemporaries.

Yes, you guessed it- Jurickson Profar is Anakin Skywalker. Young Ani’s midichlorian count was 27,700 per cell, the highest ever recorded. So much so, that it’s possible that Anikan was even created by midichlorians, as his mother was a virgin. In a somewhat similar way, Profar created to play baseball.

Anikan was “The One” who was going to restore the balance of the force. Maybe Profar is “The One” to bring a World Series trophy to Arlington. SPOILER ALERT: But Anikan’s potential, has a down side, or better yet a dark side.

In a recent article for Baseball Prospectus, Jason Parks acknowledges that Profar’s only hurdle to big league stardom could be Profar, himself. He commands the spotlight and is a leader for much older players, and he has always excelled on the field.

With that, there’s a possibility that Profar could fall to the dark side. By pressing and get down on himself and losing confidence, if he falters as he progresses through the Jedi Academy. No one is harder on Profar, than Profar. It’s alot for an 18 year old to handle, but he’s wired to handle more, that’s why he’s “The One”.

MIDICHLORIAN COUNT: 25,000

MARTIN PEREZ– PADAWAN

The Rangers went to Venezuela to sign their top pitching padawan, in 2007. Now he is 20, and at the top ring of the Jedi Academy. Only problem is, he hasn’t dominated as his skill set suggests. Either way he’s on the doorstep, and will be in Arlington at some point in 2012.

MIDICHLORIAN COUNT: 17,000

TANNER SCHEPPERS– PROSPECT

At one point Scheppers was destined to become a Jedi, but he was moved from the fast-track in the bullpen to the rotation, and has yet to return to form. At this point the expectations have been lowered for the 25 year old. He no longer seems to be in control, thus he’s been down-graded to ‘prospect’.

MIDICHLORIAN COUNT: 12,000

ROBBIE ERLIN– PADAWAN

The 20 year old Erlin, caught the eye of San Diego, who traded Mike Adams for Erlin in July. Erlin continued his Jedi path by only giving up 4 runs over his last 6 starts during San Diego’s AA playoff run.

MIDICHLORIAN COUNT: 18,000

ENGEL BELTRE– PROSPECT

“Remember, a Jedi fights only as a last resort.” Luke Skywalker.

Well Mr. Beltre comes to this ‘last resort’ more often than others (two, in-game fights the last two years). Combine that with his fear of walks (career high of 28 last year) and it’s easy to see how Beltre has fallen of the path.

MIDICHLORIAN COUNT: 3,000

MICHAEL KIRKMAN– PROSPECT

Kirkman looked poised to have significant role in 2011, but something was surely missing- he posted an ERA above 5 in AAA and above 6 in Arlington. It’s relatively unknown of why Kirkman fell off, but he’ll get another opportunity soon in Arlington. Lefties have more lives than alley-cats.

MIDICHLORIAN COUNT: 8,000

MIKE OLT– PADAWAN

Olt wielded ‘the force’ generously on Carolina League pitching, smashing 14 HRs in less than 70 games. He continued the hit parade in the Arizona Fall League, where he put up video game numbers. The Rangers will look to aggressively move this padawan up in the Jedi Training Academy.

MIDICHLORIAN COUNT: 18,000

LUIS SARDINAS– PADAWAN

Sardinas has yet to be deployed out of the Arizona complex league. He’s only 18 so this isn’t a crime. The 19 year old, Venezuelan, shortstop will likely get a chance work against stiffer competition in 2012.

MIDICHLORIAN COUNT: 12,000

JAKE SKOLE– PADAWAN

The 20 year old has proven himself worthy of a number one draft pick. The centerfielder has competed against older players and fared well thus far. With more experience under his belt, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Skole have a break out year in 2012.

MIDICHLORIAN COUNT: 16,000

MIGUEL DE LOS SANTOS– PADAWAN

The 23 year old lefty dominated high-A ball striking out 97 in 63 innings. He had 6 starts in AA, and didn’t far as well, but if he can acclimate to higher level hitters, he’s someone to keep an eye on.

MIDICHLORIAN COUNT: 10,000 

Dan Allsup is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning.com. You can email him at Dan.Allsup@shutdowninning.com or reach him on Twitter @SDIDan

Dan Allsup

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