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Ranger Jurickson Profar drives a ball in a game against Tampa Bay, Sept. 8.
At first glance, Texas' lineup appears depleted heading into 2013.
Mike Napoli was scooped up by the Boston Red Sox and Josh Hamilton signed with the Los Angeles Angels over the offseason.
Despite the departures of Napoli and Hamilton, there's no need to panic in Texas. The Rangers have plenty to look forward to, thanks to the emergence of highly coveted prospect Jurickson Profar.
Profar, a middle infielder, is rated as the top prospect in all of baseball, according to Baseball America.
Despite turning 20 last week, Profar’s age shouldn’t fool anybody.
Profar spent part of last season in Double-A Frisco, where he posted a .281 average with 14 home runs and 16 steals. The Rangers promoted him to the majors late last season, where he played just nine games with a home run and two RBI.
Less than a dozen games into spring training, manager Ron Washington is already bursting with excitement about Profar.
“The kid is in the game,” Washington said, courtesy of The Dallas News. “He has been impressive. The more you watch him, the more he grows on you.”
Moreover, Washington said Profar possesses a rare characteristic that many young prospects don't have (courtesy of MLB.com):
What I've seen is quite impressive ... The game of baseball does not scare him, and that's a tough attribute for any young kid to already have, and he certainly has it. Because the game doesn't scare him, that means he won't be taken aback by adversity, because [this game is] full of adversity, and if you can't handle adversity, then this game will eat you up.
Washington doesn't fear Profar will be impacted by adversity. Rather, he feels Profar will prosper.
"We will not let him fail," Washington said, courtesy of MLB.com. "He's quite an impressive kid."
With less than a dozen spring training games under his belt this spring, the Rangers certainly see Profar contributing at some point this season.
But, there’s a problem. The Rangers middle infield is already in place. Elvis Andrus occupies shortstop, while Ian Kinsler holds down the fort at second base.
However, there’s been talk of Kinsler switching to first base, according to ESPN.com, but the general manager Jon Daniels has yet to make a firm decision.
With little experience at first base, Kinsler is optimistic he could make the transition. Kinsler told ESPN.com:
That’s what spring training is for ... If it was a situation where I was moving to the outfield I’d have to know a little earlier because I’d have to strengthen my arm differently and I’d have to be in a little better condition as far as long-distance running. Those are really the only two differences. As far as first base, I’m still going to train the same way as far as explosiveness and trying to get my quickness back.
Profar balked at the chance to play in the World Baseball Classic, according to the Star-Telgram. The move allows Profar to remain in place at spring training, which is essential to his development.
"He wants to put himself in the best position to make the club," Daniels said.