When talking to ESPN Dallas last week, newly hired Texas Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan had some praise to heap upon two of the club's more promising prospects, including the one who might be the best in all of baseball.
Magadan, who was hired away from the Boston Red Sox and is looking to bring a new approach to the Rangers' lineup held a mini hitting camp at Rangers Ballpark and was impressed with what he saw from 19-year-old shortstop Jurickson Profar and Cuban prospect Leonys Martin.
Martin, as we sit now, is set to begin the year as a platoon centerfielder for the Rangers, along with Craig Gentry, and will likely get the starts when a right-handed pitcher is on the mound. Martin has shown flashes in the bigs in limited at-bats and tore up Double-A Frisco last season before coming back down to Earth a bit in Triple-A Round Rock.
Some scouts have compared his skills to that of Boston centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who's a bona fide star now at a young age. Magadan told ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett to tap the brakes on that idea, but still, there's reason for optimism and a reason GM Jon Daniels & Co. haven't gone out and signed a veteran centerfielder like Michael Bourn.
"Obviously, he is talented and the ceiling is limitless on him," Magadan said. "So we’ll let him go at his pace and whatever we can to make him better and he’s definitely a lot like Jacoby in the way he’s very coachable, very open, he’s got that personality where he’s very approachable, those are all good things."
Then there's Profar, who is set to start the season in Triple-A Round Rock with the Rangers infield full. Everyone knows about all the raving about him, and Magadan said the hype is very real, despite his young age.
“He’s as advertised," Magadan said about Profar. "Always has a smile on his face, very open, not that I’m coming here changing guys, just little things you say to guys you feel can make them a little more consistent he’s open to. He’s 19 years old, loves being out here, if you let him, he’ll hit for two hours in the cage. A lot of energy, a lot of positive energy, and that’s a good thing."