Infielder Jurickson Profar has not lived up to the very high expectations the Texas Rangers had for him. What should they do about the former top MLB prospect?
For several years, Jurickson Profar has been a remarkable young talent in the Texas Rangers’ system with a promising career ahead of him. This is what happens when you excel at baseball as a teenager.
Unfortunately, the high expectations for Profar have not been met. Injuries have slowed him down and placed the still very young infielder into a situation where there’s no obvious future ahead.
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Basically, the Rangers have two options. Do they simply trade Profar and get the most they can while he still has value or should they find their own place for him?
A recent rumor, which suggests the Rangers are in pursuit of pitcher Jose Quintana, may answer this question. It’s very likely that Profar is included in any big trades the Rangers make. If they do land Quintana, then Profar is probably going to the Chicago White Sox with a package of young players. This is the case whether the Rangers target Quintana or any other notable pitcher in the coming months.
The other option seems the more practical as acquiring Quintana right now looks out of reach.
Keeping Profar is not necessarily bad. Texas could groom him at one position or continue to allow him the opportunity to develop as somewhat of a utility man. The former is far tougher as the Rangers do not appear to have any openings at the infield positions at this moment.
Last year, Profar did serve in the role as a utility man with starts all over the field. Even with Adrian Beltre on the roster, it was third base where he saw the most action. However, this may not continue as he had a terrifying .913 fielding percentage at the hot corner.
One consideration is to play Profar at first base more often. The recent signing of Mike Napoli could limit this in 2017. However, this is just a one-year deal. By 2018, the position could have more of an opening.
First base is far from an ideal spot for Profar. He doesn’t quite shape up as a perfect man for the position. Profar does not have the power teams should desire at first base. The position is already a backup plan for Joey Gallo—the Rangers’ other positionless prospect they love.
All arguments in favor of Profar are unfortunately countered with his MLB statistics. Profar has not done much at all with the Rangers in over 600 plate appearances. He’s batting just .235/.311/.341 with high strikeout rates for someone with limited power. Although they could certainly stick with him and hope he improves, time is running out.
Let’s not forget Profar began the 2013 season as the number one prospect in baseball. This honor came as a clean sweep with MLB.com, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus all agreeing on this. He saw significant big league action later that year, but would not play again until 2015 due to his shoulder letting him down multiple times.
Profar remains under control through the 2019 season. There is no urgency to move him quite yet. At the very least, Profar can serve as a bench piece with potential. It’s looking more and more like he may never become the star the Rangers thought he would. Fortunately, second baseman Rougned Odor seems to have emerged as a star. Profar is more of an afterthought on the Rangers and a guy they would like to shine. If he doesn’t, they will survive.