Prince Fielder needs to shut up and step up. Because the Rangers have the patience and the personnel to win without him.
Despite missing a chunk of games by Shin-Soo Choo, A.J. Griffin, Rougned Odor and Shawn Tolleson and a whole season by former MVP Josh Hamilton, the Rangers are rolling. Best record in the American League. Fresh off a sweep of the Mariners that padded their AL West lead.
Odor goes down, Jurickson Profar comes up. And, presto, last year’s AL Comeback Player of the Year and his .187 average are left behind as the rolling train leaves the station.
Since being called up to fill in during Odor’s seven-game suspension, Profar has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s had a hit in all nine games with a .390 average from the lead-off spot. And on Sunday – playing designated hitter instead of Fielder for the second straight day – he slapped a tie-breaking single in the 5th inning of a 3-2 win over Seattle.
Most teams can’t afford an injury. The Rangers are merely shrugging off multiple hiccups.
Choo gets hurt and Nomar Mazara’s star is born. Tolleson leaves for a family situation and Sam Dyson closes seven of eight chances. Odor gets slapped with a suspension and here comes Profar. Yu Darvish missed the first two months of the season and Colby Lewis starts 5-0. Any starter who struggles will soon be looking over their shoulder at Griffin’s return.
And now? Fielder’s power disappears along with his hits and manager Jeff Banister can afford not to panic.
Right now Profar is a more productive hitter than Fielder.
The Rangers have the lead in the AL West. Just as important, their depth gives them quality options to keep it.
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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.