Widely regarded as the game's No. 1 prospect five years ago, Jurickson Profar has tamed Triple-A pitching, but he's yet to make an impact at the highest level. The 25-year-old has career major-league rates of 9.1 walks and 19.8 strikeouts, teasing a high-upside batting eye. The .352/.379/.516 line he flashed in his first 23 games of 2016 suggested he regained power and harder contact through increased shoulder strength following significant time lost in 2014 and 2015. Profar doesn't have a daily lineup spot to start the season, which has been an evergreen statement. He likely will have to get by in 2018, at least initially, by piecing together work at numerous positions. Whether he does this for a so-far patient Rangers team or another squad remains to be seen. Repeating the final point from his 2017 outlook: "He's still an interesting lottery ticket."
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said prior to spring training that Profar isn't being shopped and is expected to be included on the team's Opening Day roster, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Once considered the Rangers' second baseman of the future, Profar has since ceded that distinction to Rougned Odor after shoulder injuries derailed the former top prospect's development. Profar, who turned 25 years old Tuesday, would likely have an easier path to everyday at-bats if he were dealt elsewhere, but he looks poised to open the season in a utility role for Texas, assuming the team's projected regulars stay healthy in the spring. Even if injuries open up an opportunity for Profar down the line, he may not make for a particularly attractive pickup in mixed leagues due to the diminished power and stolen-base production he's displayed with the Rangers and Triple-A Round Rock the past two seasons. Profar will at least have a better shot at sticking around in the majors on a full-time basis this season, given that he has no minor-league options remaining.
Profar agreed to a one-year, $1.05 million deal with the Rangers on Friday to avoid arbitration, Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports. Profar only played in 22 games for the club last season, slashing .172/.294/.207 with five RBI in 70 plate appearances, and spent the last couple months of the year down at Triple-A Round Rock. Although the 24-year-old wanted out at the trade deadline, the Rangers are hopeful that he will be able to finally put it together at the major-league level in the near future. Looking ahead, there's no clear-cut position for Profar, but he should receive quality time sprinkled throughout the playing field, although that hinges on his ability to get comfortable at the dish.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Monday that Profar is unlikely to be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock in the final month of the season, Jaylon Thompson of MLB.com reports. "We are pretty well committed to the guys that we have right now that have been here all year long or come up and been challenged with roles and done well," Daniels said. "If another injury or something else happens, we feel we got some guys here that will get those opportunities next." Daniels reiterated that Profar is still viewed as a part of the team's long-term core, but didn't want to bring the infielder or fellow Triple-A standouts Willie Calhoun and Ronald Guzman up to the big leagues without the promise of regular at-bats. Once viewed as one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Profar's development has been stunted by injuries, but he was generally able to stay healthy in 2017 and enjoyed a strong season at Round Rock, slashing .287/.383/.428 across 383 plate appearances.
Profar is out of the lineup at Triple-A Round Rock on Monday after expressing frustration at a lack of a trade before the deadline, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Profar is hitting .300/.386/.440 for Triple-A Round Rock and is convinced he belongs in the majors somewhere, whether in Texas or not. He has a point, but it's hard to imagine the Rangers will let Profar go through waivers, so the former top prospect will likely have to wait until the offseason to get his wish.
Profar was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday, TR Sullivan of MLB.com reports. He'll head back to the minors with Elvis Andrus coming off the paternity list. Profar appeared in two games during his brief call-up with the team, going 3-for-7 with two doubles and two RBI. Considering his .303/.376/.444 slash line at Triple-A, Profar is certainly making a case to rejoin the big-league club in the second half of the season.