It’s not exactly what you’d call an imminent decision, but the call on Jurickson Profar is one that the Texas Rangers will have to make sooner rather than later.
With incumbent second baseman Ian Kinsler having suffered a setback on the DL prior to the past weekend thanks to the diagnosis of a stress reaction in his ribcage, the cup of tea in the bigs that Profar is getting right now received a refill that should last through next week.
After that, though, the team is inevitably going to have to decide on whether or not the 20-year-old will stick around in Arlington. The difficult part? He’s made it look like he’s belonged at this level from the start.
Not only that, but Profar has made it look easy, too, current carrying a .324/.350/.514 triple-slash through his first 40 PA over 10 games, with multi-hit performances in four of them. The latest of these came on Sunday’s victory over the Kansas City Royals, where the second baseman went 2-for-3 while also added a solo home run, his second on the season.
Yes, the majority of his at-bats have come from the bottom of the order (27 out of 37 from No. 8 and No. 9 spots), but with a strong 25.8 percent line drive rate and a 17.5 strikeout rate, there’s little question that this is a decidedly improved athlete from the fresh-faced 19-year-old who came up to hit .176 over 17 PA in 2012.
But has he done enough to warrant an extended stay?
That’s a little more difficult to answer. For one, Profar is far from a finished product at the plate, even if he has shown MLB-ready skills in his short stint thus far. His 5.0 percent walk rate is a far cry from the 12.7 he’d been putting up in Triple-A, and though that’s likely to go up as he becomes more acclimated to the pitching, it could also just as easily go south in a hurry.
It’s not the strongest point, I know, but here’s the bigger one: age.
Though there’s been a small wave of young guns in the league who aren’t quite old enough to drink yet coming in over the last couple of years, the Rangers are simply in no hurry here. They’re 6-4 over the last 10, and still own a 1.5 game lead atop the NL West, so it’s not as though the team is desperate for a spark the same way that, say, the Los Angeles Dodgers do.
Add that to the fact that the team really won’t have a place for him to play regularly (unless they get Kinsler a look to the outfield now … but that’s for another story), and it’s more of a matter of circumstance, and not skill, that might ultimately send Profar back to Round Rock in a week or so.
That is, unless his audition kick-starts the rumor mill about the possibility of him being moved for a Rangers need …