Breaking down second base in the AL West
MAR 15, 2014 12:56p ET
Jurickson Profar may have a bright future in the major leagues but he's still no Ian Kinsler at second base.
Profar will have a chance to show what he can do there this year as he takes over at second for Kinsler in an American League West that got a huge boost in its second-base profile with the addition of Robinson Cano. Profar, the former top prospect in baseball, has loads of potential but he's also the least experienced of the second sackers in the West.
Profar has had a great spring at the plate for Texas even though he hasn't played in the field because of shoulder inflammation and he's also been slowed because of his wisdom teeth. He's expected to begin playing in the field this week, which should have him ready to play in the field by Opening Day.
Defensively Profar played more games at second last year than any other position so the transition for a natural shortstop shouldn't be that difficult. And despite the shoulder problems, he's been able to work on his footwork at second all spring and manager Ron Washington said that will be one of the key adjustments the 21-year-old has to make.
Profar's bat should improve this year because he knows he'll be playing every day and he knows he's getting consistent playing time. Last year he hit just .234 with an on-base percentage of .301. The switch-hitter spent the offseason working on his swing against lefties, as he batted just .188 against LHP last season with four extra-base hits in 96 at-bats.
The Rangers aren't going to ask Profar to carry the load from the No. 8 spot in the order but he has to be serviceable at the plate for an offense that has questions marks from the No. 6 spot on offensively.
Did Seattle overpay for Cano? No 31-year old second baseman is worthy of 10 years and $240 million. They should have used some money to get him some protection in the lineup too.
But at least they have Cano, who has been the best second baseman in the AL for the last five years. Cano's offensive numbers will likely suffer in Seattle, but he's hit at least 25 home runs in each of the last five seasons and had at least 85 RBI.
Cano's already said the Mariners need to add to their offense, which would help both his numbers and the team too. Whether or not they do that, he's still the best at second in the league.
If Profar was as consistent as Los Angeles second baseman Howie Kendrick, the Rangers would be ecstatic. Kendrick does nothing flashy but does everything consistently.
Last season he was limited to 122 games, the first time he'd played in less than 140 since 2009. But Kendrick still batted .297 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI. Kendrick has hit at least .285 in each of the last three seasons and has never hit worse than .279. He's not asked to carry a big load in the Los Angeles offense but he's a known commodity.
So much is made of Houston second baseman Jose Altuve's 5-5 size that some people forget he's a decent second baseman too.
He's just 23 and had a career best 52 RBI for the Astros last season to go along with 35 steals and 64 runs scored. He's never going to much of an extra-base hit factor, as he had just 38 last season, but he's certainly not the reason the Astros are one of the worst teams in baseball.
In a shock to no one, Oakland will use several players to fill a role on its team. Second base is no exception where Eric Sogard, Nick Punto and Alberto Callaspo could all see action. Sogard had a career high 368 at-bats last year and had 35 RBI. Sogard doesn't normally start against lefties, which should open the door for playing time for the other two.
• Los Angeles