On Sunday, after a weekend of deliberation involving Ian Kinsler's rib injury, the Texas Rangers made prospect nerds everywhere happy by officially recalling top prospect Jurickson Profar from Triple-A Round Rock, according to the Associated Press via Yahoo! Sports.
Aside from being one of the most celebrated prospects in the game, Profar is a 20-year-old phenom, is well ahead of most of his peers, and, until this weekend, was a man without a spot in the mighty Texas Ranger lineup.
While Profar is a shortstop by trade, he'll play second base in the absence of Kinsler. As the years go—factoring in the lucrative, long-term contract Texas recently gave to shortstop Elvis Andrus—second base could become Profar's regular position in the major leagues.
Here are five predictions for the latest call-up in the career of Jurickson Profar.
1. He'll hit right away, continuing his Triple-A hot streak.
Despite his status as a future star, Profar actually got off to a very poor start, posting a .231/.355/.410 line in April for Triple-A Round Rock. Even if the Rangers had a spot for him to play, he wasn't doing enough to earn a call-up to the majors.
That's changed over the last 10 games.
Profar has come around, hitting .415 over the last few weeks.
The @Rangers have called upon MLB's top prospect Jurickson Profar and his @RRExpress skipper thinks he could stick. http://t.co/PJLc3Pq5DC5/19/2013, 11:28:07 PM
For Texas, it means it adds a player swinging a hot bat to a lineup that will undoubtedly miss the presence and ability of Kinsler.
Expect Profar to pick up where he left off in Triple-A. It may not be to the tune of a .415 average against big league arms, but better than average offensive production won't be a problem.
2. Plate discipline won't be an issue for the 20-year-old.
Through 166 Triple-A plate appearances, Profar is showing a mastery of the strike zone. His BB/K ratio (21/24) is nearly even, profiling him as a hitter who understands what pitchers are trying to do, is willing to work deep into counts and is able to make contact when necessary.
To put that plate discipline into perspective, only 13 current qualified big league hitters have posted a BB/K ratio equal to or better than what Profar has done at the Triple-A level.
Those hitters: Joey Votto, Lance Berkman, Michael Young, Dustin Pedroia, Buster Posey, Billy Butler, Nate McLouth, Miguel Cabrera, James Loney, Norichika Aoki, Nick Markakis, Marco Scutaro and Placido Polanco.
Asking Profar to be just as disciplined on the big league level, against superior pitching, is probably expecting too much. Yet, even if his BB/K ratio slips a bit, it still profiles as above average for the game today.
3. Ron Washington will be criticized during Profar's stay in Texas.
If the Texas Rangers truly took their 25 best players from spring training with the team to start the season, Profar would have been on the roster. He wasn't for one reason: consistent playing time wasn't available, thus sitting him on the bench, finding spare at-bats and using him as a pinch runner would halt his development.
Kinsler's injury and Profar's call-up seemingly made that logical point moot. In theory, Profar should play second base every day, collect his four plate appearances and continue to develop, albeit now on the big league level.
Jeff Moore @jeffmoore_5
#Rangers Promote Jurickson Profar, Won't Play Him Everyday http://t.co/BgIf5BPkRT5/20/2013, 3:17:03 PM
Yet, that's unlikely to happen.
Profar is expected to receive the majority of the playing time, but not every at-bat, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News).
If that is the case, manager Ron Washington will be criticized by local and national media.
4. Curacao's shortstop pipeline will come into focus.
The island of Curacao has produced few major league players, most notably former Atlanta Braves star Andruw Jones.
Now, the minute Profar steps on the field against the Oakland Athletics on Monday night, three starting middle infielders, all shortstops by trade, will be starting and thriving as young stars in the bigs.
Andrelton Simmons in Atlanta, Didi Gregorius in Arizona and Jurickson Profar.
All are young, gifted and potential future All-Stars.
In a twist of scheduling irony, Arizona and Texas square off in a doubleheader next Monday.
5. Upon the return of Ian Kinsler, Profar will be optioned back to Triple-A.
Much to the impending chagrin of Profar fanatics, it's hard to imagine this being the last call-up of his career.
Texas' roster is too deep, too talented and not nearly flexible enough to allow Profar to stay, lose at-bats on the bench and halt his overall development.
Ray Flowers @BaseballGuys
My "inside source" w/ #rangers confirms = when Ian Kinlser is healthy, Profar almost certain to be sent back to minors.5/20/2013, 1:57:56 AM
If, or—assuming you choose to believe wholeheartedly in these predictions—when Profar hits, shows master of the strike zone and proves he belongs, it likely won't change the outlook on his immediate future in Texas or Round Rock.
Core injuries such as Kinsler's ailment can sometimes heal slower than expected, so Profar's stay could be longer than two weeks.
Just don't expect it to be for the duration of the season.
Instead, a September call-up, inclusion on the postseason roster and everyday playing time in 2014 is the more likely path for this future star.
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