FRISCO– Jurickson Profar has truly had an impressive season at Double-A Frisco. Through 114 games, the Rangers top prospect was hitting .280 with 14 HR, 61 RBI and had also stolen 15 bases for the Rough Riders. As if those numbers weren’t notable enough, he also ranks 10th in the Texas League in slugging percentage at .461 and 11th in OPS at .823.
In short, the 19-year-old shortstop has been every bit as good as advertised if not even better than many thought he’d be after making the jump from the Low Single-A South Atlantic League to the Double-A Texas League earlier this year.
“He’s had a real good year,” Frisco manager Steve Buechele said. “He got off to a little slow start and was obviously phenomenal there for a long stretch. For a young kid to compete the way he has [is impressive]. He’s played every day for the most part. He’s held up really well. I couldn’t be happier with the progress that he’s made. I think in August you get a little bit tired, but he’s really had a good year and all the hype around him, I think he’s lived up to it.”
About the only negative surrounding Profar’s play in 2012 is the 22 errors he has committed at short, something his current skipper attributes to something pretty basic and also sees as being very fixable. “His error total’s coming from throws. He’s made some throwing errors on the run that’s been a little problematic at times,” Buechele said.
Profar agrees that sometimes he gets a bit out of control and tries to make a spectacular play when it’s really not called for and that’s when he commits most of his defensive miscues. “Yeah, it’s just sometimes I try to make plays and sometimes I will throw it away. I need to control myself a little bit,” he admitted.
The teenage phenom has already seen two of his Frisco teammates, starting pitcher Dustin Grimm and fellow infielder Mike Olt, make the jump from Double-A to the American League this year. Olt was the most recent Frisco player to head to Arlington and while the native of Curacao was sad to see his now former teammate leave the ‘Riders, he was also glad to see him get his first taste of life in the big leagues.
“Yeah, I was very happy for him. It’s a good thing. It’s something that is working for me right now because I want to join him,” Profar said. “I’m working real hard for it.”
And with big-league rosters expanding from 25 to 40 on Sept. 1, some have already speculated that the Rangers might add the young shortstop to their roster before the end of August so he could be eligible for the club’s postseason roster. Even if the Rangers don’t add him before the end of the month, he looks like a near lock to be a September call-up for the two-time reigning AL champion Rangers.
Profar said the powers that be in Arlington have yet to mention the subject of him being a September call-up, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t welcome a chance to join Olt in Arlington and get his own taste of life in Major League Baseball.
“It would be great. Just watching the Rangers on TV makes me better. It’s going to be special just to watch them play with my own eyes and it’s going to make me a better player,” Profar said. “It’s going to be great [playing for Ron Washington]. He’s a great manager. He likes to teach young kids. It’s going to be special.”
Of course, his current skipper would like to see his starting shortstop hang around for as long as possible, especially since Frisco won the first half title in the Texas League’s South Division and with the TL Playoffs beginning in early September, Buechele would love to still have Profar on his roster, but at the same time realizes that his talented young infielder more than deserves to make his big-league debut based on what he’s accomplished in 2012.
“It’s not my call. That’s the big club’s choice. If it were me, I’d reward him with it,” Buechele said. “I think maybe he has a chance to get a feel or a taste or an idea of what it’s like to be up there, be the utility guy or just get some playing time. I think he’s earned it but it’s certainly not my call.”