Jurickson Profar has been the Netherlands spark plug
Jurickson Profar and Team Netherlands are win away from playing in the World Baseball Classic Championship Game. In a lineup full of All-Stars, Profar has been the spark plug.
The Texas Rangers are now two weeks away from playing meaningful baseball. While most of the guys are in Surprise, Arizona putting the final touches on Spring Training, Jurickson Profar is seamlessly putting an entire country on his back.
Projected to be the Rangers opening day left fielder, Profar has had a fair amount of ups-and-downs to start his career. The top rated prospect in all of baseball heading into 2013, Profar would debut with the club the same year. After a lackluster 85 game stint, Profar would miss all of 2014 and most of 2015 due to shoulder injuries.
After getting called up following Rougned Odor’s suspension at the start of 2016, Profar hit .323 in his first 36 games. Profar was lighting the world on fire. However, after struggling to find playing time in the second half of the season, Profar hit .166 the rest of the way.
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Despite the shaky start to a promising career, one thing Profar doesn’t lack is confidence. That confidence has been put on display during Profar’s magical run with the Netherlands National Team.
The 24-year old switch hitter has been the team’s starting center fielder. In a lineup stacked with MLB All-stars such as Xander Bogartes and Andrelton Simmons, Profar has hit third and has arguably been the best player for the Netherlands.
Among World Baseball Classic players with at least ten at-bats Profar ranks third in batting average, fourth in OPS, fifth in slugging, second in hits and first in doubles. His offensive production is a big part of the Netherlands Cinderella run.
The Netherlands takes on undefeated Puerto Rico tonight at Dodgers Stadium. Winner will advance to the championship game and play the winner between Japan and the United States.
If Jurickson Profar can carry his WBC success over to the regular season, the Rangers could bolster one of the best offensive outfields in baseball. Could 2017 finally be the year that Profar breaks out? If it’s anything like his tournament performance, there’s a good chance.