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SURPRISE, Ariz. (CBS SPORTS) - Stand back and give the guy some room already. He’s just a kid. Nineteen. Wednesday, they will put 20 candles on his birthday cake. And he’ll still look like he’s about 15.
So give the guy some space. And then, more importantly, maybe the Rangers will, too.
Space. Room. Not to go all Ikea on you, but that’s where this spring is headed for Jurickson Profar, Texas and phenom watchers everywhere.
The consensus No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, Profar right now is a supremely talented man — er, kid — looking to break into a well-stocked lineup with no room to spare.
Here’s two-time All-Star Elvis Andrus, the incumbent at shortstop. There’s three-time All-Star Ian Kinsler at second base.
Here comes Profar, the hot young shortstop racing up the charts with a bullet … and where does he fit?
“I played with him in the minors when he was 17, and you couldn’t tell his age,” another hot Texas prospect, Mike Olt, said. “That’s how good he is.”
“The kid’s obviously got talent,” Kinsler said. “A lot of players in this organization have talent and can contribute to the big-league team. Hopefully, he leads the group and continues to progress the way everyone wants him to.”
“It’s very exciting,” Profar said.
The Rangers have seen this coming since signing him as an amateur free agent in 2009. Then he jumped from low Class A to Double-A Frisco last year … then he skipped Triple-A to land in Texas for a few fleeting moments last September.
First at-bat of his first game? He drilled a Zach McAllister pitch over the right-field wall in Cleveland.
“When he got to the plate, you just knew he was going to do something special,” Olt said. “His first at-bat in the Futures Game [home run, last July in Kansas City] … he’s got that about him.
“He gets in certain situations, and he comes through.”
Question this spring is, will there be a situation that lands him on Texas’ opening-day roster?
The Rangers have investigated various paths that would lead to that.
Andrus’ name was involved in the Justin Upton trade talks with Arizona this winter. That would have opened a spot.
Texas spoke with Kinsler about shoving over to first base, which would have opened second base for Profar. But Kinsler is reluctant to switch.
If they can figure out a utility role to keep Profar in a rotation to play semi-regularly, the Rangers will be open to that.
If all else fails, there’s always Triple-A Round Rock.
It’s clear the Rangers think Profar is ready. And don’t underestimate the kid’s ability to force the issue with his play this spring, too.
“We will wait until the process starts to play itself out,” manager Ron Washington vowed regarding final decisions.
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