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The Jurickson Profar Playing Time Situation

What to do with Jurickson Profar when Ian Kinsler returns from the disabled list?


Richard Durrett has a blog post this morning in which he talks about the various options in terms of what to do with Jurickson Profar once Ian Kinsler comes off the disabled list, and ultimately decides that the best way to go is to keep Profar in the majors and play him four times every 10 games or so.

I get the desire to keep Profar up in the majors, but I have a hard time seeing how Profar is going to get that much playing time. I'd be fine with the Rangers sitting Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus each once a week, but that gets Profar into the starting lineup twice a week, and I just don't see where else you can squeeze him in where it makes sense to play him.

This is particularly true given what a likely expectation is for Profar's offensive performance this season. ZiPS projects Profar, for the rest of the season, to hit .266/.333/.419. Steamer projects a .250/.317/.392 line. Either of those are very respectable performances for a 20 year old middle infielder...but neither line is the level of performance that dictates that you have to find a way to get Profar into the lineup.

As things stand right now, who should lose playing time to get Profar at bats? The David Murphy/Jeff Baker platoon in left field is likely going to be more productive, offensively, than Profar. Nelson Cruz isn't going to sit for Profar, and Profar isn't likely to out-hit Cruz the rest of the way. Mitch Moreland is hitting well. Lance Berkman is Lance Berkman.

The reality is that this is a team that doesn't have a glaring hole in the lineup that needs fixing. There's nowhere you can point to and say, "plug Profar in here rather than Player X and we get a big upgrade." Profar is capable of playing at the major league level right now, but its hard to say he would definitively represent an upgrade, much less a significant upgrade, over the players currently in place.

And that's fine. It means that the Rangers have the luxury of allowing Profar to stay in AAA, get regular at bats, and provide depth should an injury necessitate him stepping into the starting lineup. I don't see that Profar in the minor leagues is a problem. I don't see that his performance, right now, is so dynamic that it requires you to find a way to re-arrange the existing lineup to shoehorn him in.

Profar has a great future ahead of him, and by all accounts, the Rangers' plan for that future to be with the Rangers, alongside both Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler. Profar's time is coming. It just isn't necessarily in 2013. That's not a bad thing. It is indicative of a strong major league club that is playing well.

So let's be patient. Let's let Profar fill in for Ian Kinsler, then return to AAA when Kinsler is healthy, with the understanding that he'll be up later in the season in a reserve role.

Profar's time is coming. Its just not necessarily now.