On MLB Network Radio for SiriusXM, I heard a discussion between Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin on Thursday about the best all-around infields in baseball. The consensus between the two hosts was that the Washington Nationals should be ranked first, with the Texas Rangers coming in second.
So with that said, how do the Rangers fit shortstop Jurickson Profar, who is the top prospect in baseball according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, into their lineup?
I have a fairly easy solution to this.
The Rangers have a very highly skilled and talented shortstop in Elvis Andrus, and they have a perennial All-Star third baseman in Adrian Beltre. On the right side of the infield, the Rangers have Ian Kinsler at second and Mitch Moreland at first.
My first thought is to move Kinsler to first and put Profar at second base. However, Profar has played just 25 games at second base during his minor league career, as opposed to 274 games as a shortstop. Which is the better move: Shift Profar to second and keep Andrus at short, or move Andrus to second and put Profar at shortstop?
As a shortstop in the minors, Profar had a fielding percentage of 95 percent compared to his short sample at second, where he does have a fielding percentage of 99 percent.
Andrus has a career fielding percentage of 97 percent over four seasons as a shortstop in the majors and has not played any other positions since coming up. He is an excellent fielder and has given the Rangers no reason to move him from shortstop.
It appears as though the decision is not that difficult. Mitch Moreland is the odd man out. He is limited in his abilities and while he is a decent hitter, he is not on the level of Kinsler or Profar.
Ian Kinsler should be moved to first base with Jurickson Profar starting at second base and Mitch Moreland shifting to a DH/bench role.
Profar's skill set is off the charts and he has skyrocketed through the Rangers farm system. He will not be denied a starting spot should he make the team out of camp or get called up in late April or early May. Mitch Moreland is not talented enough to force Kinsler to the bench.
In the end, Moreland gets pushed out not because he is not good enough, it just happens to be bad luck on his part. The Rangers will have the most talented and physically gifted infields in all of baseball when Profar arrives for good. Their abundance of skill may rival some of the greatest infields in the history of this great game.
Profar will be starting for the Rangers. He will be forced into the lineup in any way shape or form. Nobody is blocking this guy—he is that good.