We continue our series where we issue grades and review the 2017 seasons for each Texas Rangers player, starting with the positional players and going in alphabetical order before moving on to the pitchers...
Jurickson Profar — F
Once again, the Rangers tried to find a way to work Jurickson Profar into the major league lineup at somewhere other than his preferred shortstop position, and once again, Profar disappointed. Part of the three-man group in left field to start the season, Profar started 11 games in a 13 game stretch in mid-April, and put up a .172/.333/.172 slash line in 37 plate appearances, including going 1 for his last 18. The Rangers apparently felt they’d seen enough and acquired Pete Kozma, allowing them to send Profar, who was also filing the UIF role that Kozma took over, back to Round Rock.
Profar made two brief appearances in the majors after that, getting called up for a brief time in mid-June, and then starting at shortstop for a couple of games while Elvis Andrus was on paternity leave. Interestingly, Profar went 5 for 13 with two doubles in the games he started at shortstop, 5 for 45 in all other games, so if you’re looking for support for the notion that Profar isn’t comfortable when he isn’t playing shortstop, I guess you could use that as a point in your favor.
In any case, Profar ended the year with a .172/.294/.207 slash line, supposedly threw a fit when he wasn’t dealt at the trade deadline (and landed on the 7 day d.l. as a result), and wasn’t called up in September, resulting in him reportedly filing a grievance against the Rangers. The one-time future of the franchise, the #1 prospect in all of baseball, the guy who fans and media wanted Elvis Andrus traded to make room for, that the Rangers did trade Ian Kinsler to make room for, appears destined to be sent somewhere else this offseason, to a team willing to roll the dice on an out-of-options shortstop who has three years of team control left and who is in desperate need of a fresh start somewhere.
Drew Robinson — B
A 2010 fourth round draft pick from Silverado High School in Las Vegas, Drew Robinson would have been a minor league free agent after the 2016 season had the Rangers not opted to purchase his contract and add him to the 40 man roster. Robinson rewarded the decision by having a decent 2017 campaign in what major league action he saw, slashing .224/.314/.439 in 121 plate appearances and starting at 5 different positions in the field.
Robinson has a lot of swing and miss in his game and is going to rack up a lot of strikeouts, but he can draw some walks and hit for enough power to be a decent role player. He has two options remaining, so he could well end up bouncing up and down between AAA and the majors for a year or two, but he does look like somebody who can contribute as a versatile bench player.
Ryan Rua -- D
It was a disappointing year for Rua, who had a nice 2016 campaign as a versatile righthanded bench bat, and came into 2017 fighting for a regular job in the outfield. Rua’s bat regressed from 2016, however, and he ended up back in AAA for a time, ultimately putting up a .217/.294/.333 slash line.
Rua will be 28 when Opening Day rolls around, and the Rangers will have to make a decision on what they are going to do with him going forward. If he hits like he did in 2014 and 2016, he’s got value as a role player, particularly given his solid defense and baserunning. If he hits like he did in 2015 and 2017, he’s not going to stick.