While the Rangers’ second baseman of the past makes noise this spring with his mouth, their second baseman of the present and future is letting his bat do the talking.
As baseball stretches its legs in Arizona, Ian Kinsler is labeling former co-workers “sleazeball.” Jurickson Profar, meanwhile, is merely tattooing baseballs.
Profar homered off Reds’ starter Homer Bailey in Monday’s win, and now leads the Catcus League with 11 RBI. Nobody, of course, worries about Profar’s glove, arm or instincts at second base. He and Elvis Andrus will team for one of Major League Baseball’s most athletic, exciting middle-infield combinations.
If Profar hits – and hits with power – the Rangers’ ceiling will get raised significantly.
The problem for the 21-year-old is that, as a switch-hitter, he’s struggled from the right side. Monday’s homer came as a lefty, and as a righty he’s 0-for-6 this spring. Last season he hit only .188 with one homer right-handed, compared to .258 with five dingers from the left side.
To that end, his off-season was spent tinkering with his right-handed swing.
“I’ve worked very hard on both sides, and I feel comfortable. I feel good,” Profar told reporters in Surprise last week. “You have to take swings from both sides every day during cage work, BP. You have to make sure you take the same amount of swings on both sides to keep it together.”
Though it’s a small sample size, the notion would seem to be have Profar only hit left-handed. But that’s not an option at this point according to Rangers’ manager Ron Washington. For now the Rangers merely want to get Profar and his sore shoulder onto the field and just allow him to improve.
Watching Profar’s development is much more exciting than listening to Kinsler’s whining.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.