Pro Far, Pro Good
By now, you’ve probably heard a little something about this Jurickson Profar kid. Made his debut Sunday against the Indians. Hit a home run in his first at bat. Became the youngest player in American League history to do it. Also became the youngest to hit a home run since his teammate Adrian Beltre did it when he was a few weeks younger back in the day. Followed up the home run with a double down the left field line. Here’s the home run:
Here are a few things you may not have heard: When Ian Kinsler told Wash he was having problems with his back before the game Sunday, the Rangers skipper was all set to put Michael Young in at second base instead. The same slumping Michael Young that many screamed to be benched in favor of Profar on Saturday when Wash penciled him in at shortstop while Elvis Andrus handled the DH chores. Yes, Wash was ready to “do what he do” with Young when the veteran came to him and said, “Why not keep me at DH and put the Profar kid in at second.” That’s what Wash did. Say what you will about his eroding batting skills (which even I have done), but the argument that Young is a selfish player doesn’t hold much water with me.
Profar had a brilliant debut. He is the Texas Rangers’ top prospect. Driving home from work today, I heard one MLB Radio host declare that Profar will be a force at shortstop for the next 15 years. Maybe so, but two things come into play here. There happen to be two middle infielders playing right now in Texas named Kinsler and Andrus and the odds are pretty good Profar isn’t going to unseat either one of them. It’s very possible the shortstop of the future won’t truly be seeing the future until the 2014 season. As an aside, it’s also possible second base is where Profar will be the force instead of shortstop. More on that later.
Let’s put another rumor to rest concerning Profar and any other Rangers rookie that happens to hit the roster. That is the rumor that Ron Washington favors the veterans over the young kids. In a prior post, it was pointed out Ron Washington isn’t really any different than most managers when they have a team in the “Championship” window. A pennant stretch run for a contending team really isn’t the place to be trying out untested rookies. The odds are greater the rookie will struggle, as Mike Trout did a year ago, than hitch the team to his back and carry them forward towards the pennant. And why put that kind of pressure on a rookie anyway?
But I digress. I thought it was interesting today reading this note from MLB.com’s Rangers beat writer TR Sullivan:
“Manager Ron Washington is working with Jurickson Profar on his double play pivot. “
That note is as interesting as any I’ve seen recently. The man who “favors” his veterans has decided to take some time out to personally work with Profar on his fielding. True, Profar is not in Tuesday’s starting line-up. However, there seems to be an even split of opinions as to whether Texas would add Profar to the playoff roster as a utility infielder. This note tells me Profar is being given serious consideration for the job.
In his debut Sunday, Profar fielded his position cleanly and was the middle part of a 6-4-3 double play. When I first saw it, I thought Profar might have looked a little bit awkward but I wasn’t sure. Wash must have seen it too, thus the special workout today.
What we saw Sunday was the epitome of the small sample size, but there’s something to be said for making a statement in your first game and your first at bat. Profar certainly did that. As of this moment, the odds favor the AAA Round Rock Express being Jurickson Profar’s team to begin the 2013 season. If he continues to impress between now and the end of the regular season and beyond into the post-season, there’s also a possibility of hearing discussions involving either a trade of Andrus or a move of Ian Kinsler to left field.