With Spring Training at full swing now, it is time to see how the players from the Kingdom of the Netherlands will do in the upcoming season. Of course there is no crystal ball and it is still up in the air, but in general you can make a decent prediction based on the performance of previous years.
Jurickson Profar is finally on the way back from a very long stint on the DL. Jurickson started the 2014 season on the 60-day DL and was expected to return to the Rangers mid June. But somewhere in May 2014 the Rangers announced that Jurickson had re-injured his shoulder again. Jurickson opted for rest instead of surgery. But as he got injured again in February 2015, it was decided that he would get surgery. This would cost him almost the entire season. In August he started his rehab stint with several MiLB teams of the Rangers and he was added to the Arizona Fall League to get ready in time for the 2016 campaign. In both cases he served as a DH.
Profar signed with the Rangers in 2009. Other teams were interested too, but they wanted to sign him as a pitcher. The Rangers signed him as a shorstop, the position that he wanted to play. He made his first steps in professional baseball with the Spokane Indians (A short season Northwest League). After spending the entire 2011 season with the Hickory Crawdads and the biggest part of the 2012 season with the Frisco RoughRiders, before Profar was called up to the Bigs on August 31st. He debuted on September 2nd with a solo homerun in his first at bat. In 2013 Jurickson would start the season at AAA Round Rock but was called up in May to replace Ian Kinsler who was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
During the 2013 season Jurickson played 85 games in which he hit a sub par .234. Despite his low batting average, he managed to hit six homeruns for the season. He played every infield postion but first base and even played four games in left field in 2013. Both at short and at second, Jurickson posted a .970 fielding percentage. At third base he did not so well as he had a fielding percentage of .923.
Before his professional career, Profar left a very good impression when he participated with the Pabao Little League team from Willemstad, Curacao in the 2004 and 2005 Little League World Series. His team won in 2004 but fell to the West Oahu Little League team in the 2005 final.
So what can we expect from Jurickson in 2016? It is tough to predict what Profar will do in 2016. So far his defense has been better at second base than it was at shorstop. At bat he must do better than the .234 that he hit in 2013 if he wants to make a chance to stay on the 25-man roster. His batting average during his years in the minors was .276. He never topped .290 in those days. An average of .250 should be possible if he can adapt to MLB pitching. We have to keep in mind that 2013 was his first full season at MLB level. In those seasons, players like Andrelton Simmons, Jonathan Schoop and Xander Bogaerts also had a hard time.
Expect Jurickson to start the 2016 season at AAA to get some more playing time before being called up. If he will be called up, it is very likely that he will play second base as the Rangers still have Elvis Andrus playing at short. Andrus’ fielding percentage was steady in the .970 range for years. Andrus is still young at 27, so he will stay at shorstop for the next few years. Since the Rangers traded Ian Kinsler after the 2013 season, it is likely that Profar will be the Rangers’ second baseman.