What a different a month can make.
Just ask Jurickson Profar, the Texas Rangers top prospect who’d all but seemed like he’d be the latest young player to throw his name into the hat of near-instant superstars of the new generation alongside the likes of Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Yasiel Puig.
Amidst questions of whether he should stick around when Ian Kinsler finally returned to health, the youngster answered it with a .324/.350/.514 triple-slash as of June 2 after his first 37 at-bats.
Fast forward to just a little over a month later, however, and it seems as though the game of baseball has answered back in full force. The sport at the MLB level was never supposed to be that easy, of course, and Profar is finding out just why it is that so many top prospects with all-world talent have come before him and failed spectacularly.
Now, it’s not as though the second baseman-turned-utility man for the Rangers have totally fallen off the wagon yet, but I think it’s fair to say that the wheels may be slipping a bit.
In other words, Profar is in the midst of a good ol’ baseball slump. Having registered hits in just four of his last 10 games, the 20-year-old is not only struggling to find consistent playing time with the Rangers obligated to play both Kinsler and Elvis Andrus on a regular basis, but he isn’t making a very good case to change the team’s mind.
His season triple-slash has dipped to .246/.323/.364 through 136 PA on the season, in large part thanks to the .648 OPS he put up through June. That number is currently at .584 after four starts in July, and considering that he’s starting to have trouble with whiffs (23.5 percent over 13 AB in July, a SSS season-high), the trend don’t exactly work to his favor right now.
Not to say that the Rangers have too much to worry about, though.
For the team, Profar is simply a nice-to-have on a offensive juggernaut, a player who is likely too young for major league duties learning his job on the fly. Any offensive production they would have gotten out of him is icing on the cake, and even with his struggles, it’s not like this team is going to struggle to score runs either.
Whether they’re showcasing the youngster as a trade chip or not, Profar is still a player who can benefit from being at the lows of the MLB life; after all, it’s not like there are very many places to go from there.