Every once in a while there are those who the game just seems to come easy to. They go about things effortlessly and they look like their DNA was made to play baseball. It often starts at a very young age when the game against their peers moves at a slower pace. As a youngster they tend to throw the ball a bit harder, run faster, have a smoother glove and the act of hitting a baseball doesn't present the challenge it does to everyone else. These are the guys who end up playing with kids older than them for much of their life. It is just a necessity, because it puts the game in as close to a natural environment as possible.
"I was acting like I was scared so he could throw the same pitch," were the words Jurickson Profar said to Eric Nadel and Matt Hicks on the ESPN Dallas postgame show.
Profar was referring to a low inside fastball from Kyle Farnsworth that dropped him to his knees in the 10th inning. It was amazing that Profar was able to get away from the pitch, but what was most impressive was that after taking a second to dust himself off, he ripped a double down the right field line to put the Rangers up 3-2 in what would be a 4-2 victory for the Texas Rangers.
Profar added, "He did, and I got a good swing on it."
Without a doubt Jurickson Profar is one of those kids. Profar led Curacao to a championship in the Little League World Series at 11-years-old and then brought them back to the championship game a year later. He was then signed as a 16-year-old and is now contributing at the big league level before turning twenty.
When Profar was signed, the Rangers asked him to begin hitting from the left-side and to become a switch hitter. It was less than two years later when Baseball America said he had the best swing (from the left side) in attendance at the Future's game which collects the best talent from all of Minor League Baseball. Switch Hitting is a challenge that some spend their entire life trying to master, with most coming away empty handed. Profar not only was experiencing success two years later, but had his unnatural side regarded as the best swing in MILB. In the grand scheme of things, switch hitting was probably something that gave Profar a bit of an extra challenge as he worked his way to the big leagues and skipped multiple levels of the minor leagues.
Profar has now been in the Rangers' lineup two times and has experienced success both games. Two games worth of stats can tell you absolutely nothing about a player and their ability to perform over the next few months or even years to come. However the way a player handles themselves on the field in the middle of a pennant race can tell you everything. Plenty of players have the talent to make it at the big league level, the mental side of the game is what most do not have.
Baseball comes very natural to Jurickson Profar and he has all the skills necessary to be a big leaguer right now, but it is the mental side of everything that sets him apart. Baseball is baseball and that is one thing he knows very well. It does not matter if it is just a local game back in Curacao, the Little League World Series, Low-A Hickory, Double-A Frisco, the Future's Game or the big leagues. Profar understands the game of baseball very well and his age has never mattered.
John Bowman is a lifelong baseball and Texas Rangers fan that loves to ponder the deeper aspects of the game. Some of his first baseball memories involve Arlington Stadium nachos, Charlie Hough's knuckleball, dirt on Pete Incaviglia's uniform and the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel as he fell asleep.
- Sports & Recreation
- Eric Nadel