Profar, Iglesias and Bradley
Jurickson Profar crushed a towering home run into the right field home run porch at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington sending Texas to victory on Sunday over the Kansas City royals. Profar was ranked the number one prospect by Baseball America coming into this season, but he only recently found his way into the lineup thanks to an injury to Ian Kinsler.
Profar and the Rangers arrive at Fenway Park today for the second series of the year between the teams and the Red Sox will be looking to avenge a three game sweep last time out.
Absent from the first series but on show this week will be three young and talented players, all recently called up to play their part for their respective teams. Profar for the Rangers, Jose Iglesias and Jackie Bradley Jr. for the Red Sox.
Baseball America documented in the preseason that observers had raved about Profar’s mental toughness, leadership skills and grace under pressure, and such was his confidence when drafted he told the Rangers he’d make the big leagues by the time he was 20. In fact, he was better than his word getting the call-up in September last year at age 19. The self confidence and poise of this young player might lead you to draw comparisons to a young Derek Jeter, and that wouldn’t be far off the mark. However, Profar no longer fields the shortstop position, moving to second this year as Elvis Andrus is installed as the Rangers shortstop for the foreseeable future after signing an 8 year $120 million contract extension. In an interesting parallel, before Andrus – a Boras client – signed the extension his contract would have expired around the time Jeter was likely to be retiring…
Jose Iglesias continues to make his bid for Most Valuable Player by roasting opposing pitchers on a nightly basis. Since he was called back up from Pawtucket – where he’d hit a disappointing .202 – he’s hit .424 with three doubles and one home run in 10 games. That’s a 162 game pace of 49 doubles and 17 home runs! Clearly regression is around the corner – a .500 BABIP over the 10 game run – but it’s fun to watch and who knows how long it will last. Is he this years Pedro Ciriaco but with fielding ability?
Jackie Bradley Jr. got the call to report to the Majors after Jacoby Ellsbury experienced tightness in his groin after stealing the fifth of five record setting bases against the Philadelphia Phillies. Bradley has started well, hitting .333 with two doubles in five games. Perhaps the Red Sox purse strings will be tightening for the oft injured and soon-to-be free agent Ellsbury, as they have a tailor made – and cheaper – replacement in Bradley.
One of the best things about baseball is watching prospects develop and in this series we could be watching the early careers of some of the future’s best major leaguers.