In the wake of Rougned Odor’s suspension, Jurickson Profar has made his long awaited return to the Rangers
Jurickson Profar made his debut with the Texas Rangers as a September call-up in 2012. He began the 2013 season named baseball’s top prospect, but started the season at Triple-A Round Rock being called up when second baseman Ian Kinsler was injured.
The Rangers traded Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers for slugger Prince Fielder after the 2013 season expecting Profar to be their next second baseman. Instead Profar injured his shoulder during spring training and started the season on the 60-day DL, expecting to be back by mid-June.
He suffered a number of set-backs and spent the remainder of the 2014 season attempting to rehab his injured shoulder. He finally succumbed to the reality that he needed surgery, which he underwent in February 2015, causing him to miss another full season.
After beginning the 2016 season back at Round Rock, Profar was called up on May 28. The player who replaced him for the Rangers, Rougned Odor, has been suspended for seven games for punching Toronto Blue Jays outfielder, Jose Bautista, in the face.
Odor has played well offensively in Profar’s absence batting .261 with 16 homers and 61 RBI in 2015 but he hasn’t fared as well in the field committing 17 errors at second last season. Plus, it was always Profar who was supposed to be the Rangers’ second baseman of the future. One has to wonder – is it possible for Profar to win his spot back from Odor?
He’s not going to win it back in just seven games but the Rangers are already discussing potentially keeping Profar on the big league roster as utility player once Odor returns. This suggests that, perhaps, the thought of Profar’s return to second base is sitting in the back of their minds as well.
Odor has been known to be a volatile player having punched two players (see below) while he was in the minor leagues in 2011, his past and recent actions could very well end up being a strike against him if Profar performs well in his absence.
So far Profar has done just that. He got his first big league hit in two years in his first game back on Friday, going 1-5 in the Rangers’ 9-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hitting leadoff and playing at second again on Saturday Profar showed he still has the skills he had before his injury – foot speed, strong arm, good hands, a quick bat. He led off the game with a single, later scoring on ground out by Fielder in the Rangers’ three-run first inning.
Profar tripled in the seventh, showing off his speed and scored on a single by center fielder Ian Desmond accounting for two of the Ranger’s five runs.
While there are no guarantees that Profar, who was batting .284 with five home runs, 26 RBI and a .356 on-base percentage through 41 games with Round Rock, will even remain with the team let alone take back what was supposed to be his spot at second base, he’s already off to a good start in his first major league stint in two years.
It’s very likely that Profar, if given the chance to play everyday, would put up better numbers than Odor’s overall .260 batting average and well below average .304 on-base percentage in his three-plus seasons with Texas.
Maybe the temperamental Odor, who said he did not regret punching Bautista, should watch his back and his temper if he wants to remain the Rangers’ starting second baseman.
Noone can say what will happen when Odor returns, but there’s always a chance that Profar could be back for good.