After initially declining to play in the WBC this March, Texas Rangers number one prospect Jurickson Profar is now saying he needs more time to decide. Profar is a native of Curacao, making him eligible to play for the Netherlands in the 16-team tournament. If he decides to participate, he would join fellow MLB top infield prospects Xander Bogaerts from the Boston Red Sox and Andrelton Simmons from the Atlanta Braves.
Profar has a shot at making the Rangers’ roster coming out of spring training, so getting as many meaningful at-bats as possible will only help his cause. Joining the Netherlands squad would benefit the 19-year old tremendously in that regard. He’s told the Rangers that he’d like to make his decision sometime next week, after the start of spring training.
After being signed at the age of 17, Profar has had little trouble adjusting to the minor leagues, showing an incredible mix of power, speed, and patience. In just over 300 games in the minors, Profar has racked up 30 home runs, 150 RBI, and stole 47 bases. He’s also a tremendous defender, noted for his glove. He has yet to play AAA ball though, so a jump straight to the majors would be somewhat surprising. But that’s not to say he won’t be able to handle it.
At this point, Texas is seriously considering adding Profar to the 25-man roster as a utility player. Playing in the WBC could help his chances of making that happen. If he does break camp with the Rangers, his presence will eventually force the team to either make a trade or move him or Elvis Andrus, the current starting shortstop, over to second base.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)