ARLINGTON, Texas — Jurickson Profar and Leonys Martin spent a couple of days at Rangers Ballpark this week as part of the club’s hitting camp for the organization’s young stars.
They are hoping it’s a sign of what’s to come this year as both players are looking to make an impact with the Rangers.
Profar and Martin were at the ballpark along with Engel Beltre and Jorge Alfaro Wednesday. Mike Olt also participated in the camp earlier in the week.
Profar, 19, the organization’s top prospect, has had an interesting offseason. He went from having a chance to being the club’s everyday second baseman this spring to being a likely candidate for Round Rock’s Triple A roster after the club decided to keep Ian Kinsler at second base.
Profar, who has never played at the Triple A level, understands.
“If it’s like that, I just have to go there and play,” said Profar, who was also slowed by a sore forearm this winter but feels good now. “That’s it. There’s nothing I can do.”
Profar planned to play for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. While he still might do that, he’s wavering because he doesn’t want to miss a chance to make the Texas roster.
“I don’t know yet,” he said of his WBC decision. “I’m still thinking about it. Maybe I’ve got a spot to make on the team. That’s why I’m thinking about it to see where I’m at and what will happen.”
Texas general manager Jon Daniels said earlier this winter he’d rather Profar play every day than play sporadically at the major-league level. Profar said he would have no problem being a bench player because he just wants to play for the Rangers.
Martin feels the same way, although his opportunity to help the Rangers appears to be better than Profar’s. The left-handed hitting Martin is eyeing the vacancy in center, which was created by the departure of Josh Hamilton.
Martin has played in 32 games over the last two years with the Rangers. He’s hoping to increase that this season.
“I feel good,” Martin said. “I’m sorry that Hamilton went to another team, but I feel great mentally and physically. I feel good about the opportunity.”
Martin showed what he could do at the plate in Triple A last season, batting .359 in 55 games. Now he’s hoping to carve out time in a crowded group of prospective center fielders that also includes Craig Gentry and Julio Borbon.
Martin is hoping his success in Round Rock carries over.
“That year made me get better and this spring is going to help me get focused too,” Martin said.
The hitters got to work with new hitting coach Dave Magadan.
“It’s acquainting myself with the younger players,” Magadan said. “We had five guys in here, and a couple of guys I hadn’t seen in person. It was a chance for me to develop a relationship with them. When spring training comes around, we hit the ground running.”
Magadan had a chance to see Martin in the Dominican Republic.
“He’s got not a lot of experience in pro ball and the experience he’s got he’s done very well,” Magadan said. “Let’s let him develop at his own pace. Obviously he’s talented. The ceiling is limitless on him.”
Profar also impressed Magadan.
“He’s as advertised,” Magadan said. “He’s very open. He’s 19 and he loves being out here. If you let him, he’d hit for two hours in the cage. He’s got a lot of energy, a lot of positive energy. That’s a good thing. When I think back to how I was at 19 years old, it’s very hard to relate to it.”