In less than two months, the 2014 baseball season will begin. The Texas Rangers are poised to return to the postseason, but there are a good amount of questions surrounding the season.
Question: How will Jurickson Profar respond to being elevated to an everyday starter?
When the Texas Rangers and general manager Jon Daniels sent Ian Kinsler packing off to Detroit in return for Prince Fielder, they sent a bold, clear message to their 20-year-old phenom, Jurickson Profar. After a year that many thought was wasted, and with valid reason, while he was basically used as a bench bat and a utility player. He played in 85 games for the Rangers and got 286 at-bats, when many said he should have stayed in the minors and gotten 500 at-bats.
Did the decision stunt his development as a ballplayer? It's possible, but at times Profar showed himself to be a baseball prodigy, especially with the glove, making several highlight reel plays at second base in his limited action.
Now, he's the Rangers' everyday second baseman and will begin the season as a 21-year-old MLB regular. Over a full season, he appears to have potential to be a .270 hitter, which would be fantastic for the Rangers, with potential 20-home run power. If he can somehow pull that off, it'd be a huge plus in the bottom of the order, where he'll likely hit eighth.
It will be a year of transition for Profar, that's to be expected. But the Rangers hope more regular at-bats will help him get into a better groove offensively than he was ever able to in 2013 when he hit just .234 with a .308 on-base percentage. He did hit six home runs, which is some promising power for a guy in his ilk.
With the expected growing pains, Profar will definitely have his slumps at the plate in 2014, but his glove should make up for it, and with the way the Rangers' lineup appears to be constructed, they can afford for some sparse production from time to time in the No. 8 spot in the lineup.