Sunday, July 10, 2011
Jurickson Profar emulates Andrus
By Richard Durrett and Master Tesfatsion
PHOENIX -- Rangers 18-year-old shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar didn't hesitate when asked which big league player he's trying to emulate.
"Elvis Andrus," said Profar, sitting in a dugout at Chase Field on Sunday prior to playing for the World Team in the All-Star Futures Game. "Definitely."
Profar, who speaks multiple languages, certainly looked a little bit like Andrus on Sunday. The youngest player in the game made a nice play at short, showing off his range and an accurate arm. He hit left-handed after the USA Team made a pitching change and stroked a low fastball from Kyle Gibson (Twins prospect at Triple-A) into the right-center gap. Profar raced around the bases, sliding safely into third with a two-out RBI that gave the World a 4-3 lead at that point.
For Profar, it was a chance to show more folks what he can do. He's learning at Class A Hickory right now, hitting .270 with eight homers and 36 RBIs in 69 games. He's 10-for-16 on stolen base chances and is still learning how to play consistent baseball every day. He admitted Sunday that he has to get used to the length of the season.
Profar took advantage of spring training to spend some time with Andrus and pick his brain.
"I took ground balls with him and I worked with him a little bit during the minicamp earlier in the year," Andrus said Sunday. "He's a great guy. He reminds me of me a couple years ago. He's a really smart kid and hopefully stays healthy and gets here too."
It gave Andrus a chance to size up the young pitcher turned switch-hitting shortstop.
"He's good," Andrus said. "He's got a pretty good arm, great hands. He's still developing and in the process. I just think he needs to continue to play like I did. He's a talented guy. He's a talented and smart kid. If he stays humble and works hard everyday, I think he's going to be here pretty soon."
Andrus said Profar was asking a lot of questions, which the Rangers shortstop took as a good sign.
"He's really smart," Andrus said. "He knows how much talent he has and he's still humble. I always tell him, 'Play hard, no matter if you're hitting good or hitting bad.' Minor leagues, it's not where you want to be. Minor leagues, it's like a preseason -- a spring training. Learn from the season and just move."