Grading Jurickson Profar's Early Returns for the Texas Rangers
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Jurickson Profar is a pro; the more playing time he gets in the big leagues, the more he'll prove it.
The 20-year-old has been the talk of Texas for a few years now by tearing through the Minor Leagues with a slick glove and an uncanny ability to get on base. Prior to being called up to the big leagues, Profar was hitting .278 with a .370 on-base percentage, including four home runs and 21 walks in 37 games.
When Ian Kinsler suffered an injury last month, Ron Washington made the decision to bring up Profar to fill in at second base until Kinsler was ready to return. Profar has provided a spark for the older Rangers and his manager has not failed to recognize his ability to perform on the big stage.
The top prospect flashed the brilliance that Rangers fans are expecting in the future when he notched a go-ahead homer in the bottom of the 8th inning in the team’s 3-1 win over the Royals on Sunday. Washington lauded Profar's fearlessness after the game.
"What I get a kick out of is he's not afraid of baseball," Washington said. "Opportunities like today are what that young kid lives for. No one in the ballpark expected that. But he gave us a lift right there. He rose to the occasion."
The home run was the second for Profar in his 10 games with Texas this season. He’s hitting .324 with 6 RBI to go along with a .350 OBP in 37 plate appearances.
As a hitter Profar has shown that he should at least be given a chance to stay in the majors even when Kinsler returns. He’s produced four multi-hit games in his 10 appearances this season and has failed to notch a hit in only three of those games.
Despite his age, Profar’s patience and clutch gene at the plate has showed in the big leagues, as Profar is hitting .500 when behind in the count and .367 with one or more outs. He connects similarly against right and left-handers; .333 against lefties and .321 against righties.
Profar has also looked solid in the field, committing only two errors so far with Texas to go along with only six in 30 games with Round Rock before being called up.
An area that Profar will likely develop greatly with more game experience is his baserunning ability. Anyone tuning into a Rangers game can see his speed and athleticism jump out at them when he’s on the base paths or in the field.
He’s stolen only 53 bases in his 341 combined minor league games, but with time the youngster could develop into a 30 steals per year player with no problem.
All things considered, everything that the Rangers traditionally do well, Profar does well. They are No. 10 in the MLB in runs, and No. 8 in OBP. Profar had 27 runs in 37 games and a .370 OBP with Round Rock before being called up.
If Jurickson Profar were given a grade for his service in Ian Kinsler’s absence so far this season, I would give him a B+.
He’s shown the ability to hit and adjust to major league pitching, and his glove is proving to be just as solid as the 30-year-old Kinsler. Texas is currently in 1st place in the AL West and 5-5 with him in the lineup, and when he hits more they score more runs.
Though Kinsler was hitting a solid .302 with 7 home runs and 20 RBI in 40 games before his injury, Profar is clearly the future. But with a middle infield of Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, who just signed an 8-year $120 million extension in April, Profar isn't likely to see much playing time if he stays in the majors this season.
Another roadblock to Profar’s playing time is Leury Garcia, who has provided solid play as the team’s utility man this season. In an article on sportsonearth.com by Jonathan Bernhardt last month, Washington's quote shed light on Profar's expected time with the club this season.
"I'm going to try and get them equal playing time," Washington said. "This is [Leury] Garcia's time to get at-bats as a utility guy, while Profar is coming up as a top prospect. He's going to get at-bats. But I'm also going to try and get at-bats for Leury. He needs to see pitching because once Kinsler gets back, Leury is going to be the one still here."
Is sporadic playing time in the majors the key to developing the future of the club? Or could he benefit from more time in Triple-A, where he will get as many at bats as he can handle?
No matter what the answers to those questions are, one thing is for sure. That is that Jurickson Profar has proven himself to be a professional. And the more time he gets in the big leagues, the more his numbers and ability will continue to show this.
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