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Playoff roster crystal ball: Jurickson Profar

9/11/2012

It's mid-September, and while the Texas Rangers haven't clinched anything it's not too early to at least speculate and discuss the 25-man playoff roster. A few points to consider:

* At this point isn't Jurickson Profar on the playoff bench? Beside the obvious in that his bat has provided some spark since he's been up, he has speed and is a switch-hitter. Plus, Profar plays the middle infield positions. That's important to have on the bench in the postseason. Profar is giving this club some more energy, and don't discount that when tensions are high, either.

* The opponent the Rangers face in the ALDS could help shape the bullpen choices. The staff wanted to be sure they had left-handed arms to pitch to key left-handed batters against the New York Yankees in 2010 and against the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers in 2011. Last year it was Mike Gonzalez that got a couple of key outs as the left-handed specialist.

* It's likely the club will stick with a four-man rotation for the postseason. That would mean someone moving into a long relief role. I've got Scott Feldman over Roy Oswalt in that spot. While Feldman's been inconsistent as a starter, he's pitched pretty well as a long reliever. Oswalt is injured, but even if he ends up fine by the time the postseason begins he isn't making my roster right now.

* As for the final bullpen spots, they are tough. But I like Koji Uehara's splitter these days and I think he can get some key batters out when needed. If he's on the team, it might come down to Tanner Scheppers or Mark Lowe. The overall numbers and experience argument is in Lowe's favor, but Scheppers has swing-and-miss stuff, a fastball with lots of life and is building confidence. As of today, I'd take Scheppers.

* Who else makes the bench? Mike Olt is a clear candidate. He can play a few positions and has a right-handed bat. But he's struggled of late and needs some time in key situations to prove himself. Is he worth having on the bench if he isn't playing well and the coaching staff isn't likely to play him? In that case, do they turn to a pinch-runner spot like Leonys Martin. I'd rather have Olt, if for no other reason than you've got Profar to pinch-run already, and I'm not sure the club will pinch-run that much anyway.

* For this particular roster, I went with eight pitchers in the bullpen. It's worth noting that the Rangers had seven bullpen pitchers last year in the ALDS and added a third catcher to the postseason roster. So they could certainly do that this year or add another bench player since they only have four starters. But for now, I went with the extra arm.

My 25-man roster today in alphabetical order (with lots of time for things to change):

STARTING PITCHERS (4)

Yu Darvish

Ryan Dempster

Matt Harrison

Derek Holland

BULLPEN (8)

Mike Adams

Scott Feldman

Michael Kirkman

Joe Nathan

Alexi Ogando

Robbie Ross

Tanner Scheppers

Koji Uehara

INFIELDERS (7)

Mitch Moreland

Ian Kinsler

Elvis Andrus

Adrian Beltre

Michael Young

Jurickson Profar

Mike Olt

CATCHERS (2)

Mike Napoli

Geovany Soto

OUTFIELDERS (4)

Josh Hamilton

Nelson Cruz

David Murphy

Craig Gentry

NOTE: If you take away a bullpen arm, which one is it? Kirkman? That would give you the ability to add Martin in for speed or Luis Martinez as the third catcher.

So what is your 25-man roster? Is Profar on it? Put yours down in the comment section and let us know why you picked the way you did.