Yesterday we learned that the Rangers will have top shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar play some second base this season, with the thoughts that he could replace Ian Kinsler should Kinsler leave via free agency. Here is Rangers director or minor league operations Jake Krug, in an interview with ESPN Dallas:
"We kind of live by the motto 'challenge the gifted’ and Jurickson certainly fits in that category," said Rangers director of minor league operations Jake Krug during a recent edition of Rangers Magazine on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. "We keep it open-minded. Whether it’s Myrtle or Frisco, half in Myrtle … half in Frisco. It’s kind of up to Jurickson. He’s one of those guys. You really wouldn’t count anything out. Him playing in Double-A this year I know is a goal of his, and a goal of ours."
I am a bit surprised they are planning on playing Profar at second base, and am even more surprised to hear that they think he could reach AA this season. That tells me they have him on the fact track and we could see him in the big leagues as soon as 2014, and possibly late 2013.
More fantasy baseball thoughts after the jump:
ESPN and SiriusXM's Jim Bowden tweeted the following after seeing National's third base prospect Anthony Rendon hit yesterday:
JimBowdenESPNxm JIM BOWDEN
After watching Anthony Rendon swing the bat my only question is...How in the world did he ever get down to Wash in 1st round #immort
I would not be surprised to see articles written about 3-4 years from now with baseball writers questioning how Rendon fell to the 6th pick in the first round. We found out a few days ago from Mark Zuckerman from Natsinsider where Rendon will start his minor league career:
Rendon and Purke were optioned to high-Class A Potomac, with infielder Carlos Rivero optioned to Class AAA Syracuse.
I have to think that Rendon has a good chance to make AA this season, as there has been nothing but glowing reports on him this spring. He will have to show that he can stay healthy, obviously, and there is still a question as to where he will eventually play in the infield. He has played shortstop in spring training, and has worked with manager Davey Johnson at second base as well. I imagine they won't make the decision on his position till he is comfortable playing in High A.
It was reported yesterday that the Pirates are considering using second baseman Neil Walker as their cleanup hitter this season. Walker is certainly not your typical cleanup hitter, as he hit just 12 HRs last season, but did drive in 83 runs last season. I think Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez eventually takes over the cleanup spot, but he will have to prove that he can rebound from his horrific sophomore season in 2011.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. stated yesterday that second baseman Chase Utley may appear in a spring training game next week. Utley's right knee discomfort could impact him at the plate in 2012. He is 33 years old and on the downside of his career, so I would be conservative in any projections for him. He hasn't had more than 500 at bats since 2009, and his SLG has dropped from a career high .566 in 2007 to a career low of .425 last season.
A's outfield prospect Yoenis Cespedes may not start the season in the big leagues, per GM Billy Beane. Beane is not ready to commit to Cespedes yet, and has just under two weeks to decide, as the A's start their 2012 season on March 28th vs the Seattle Mariners in Tokyo. The money is on Cespedes making the team out of spring training.
A's manager Bob Melvin announced a few days ago that he will decide between Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes as his closer to open the season. Here is Joe Stiglich from the San Jose Mercury News:
Manager Bob Melvin said he will choose between Grant Balfour and left-hander Brian Fuentes to be his closer. Until Monday, he had maintained it was a four-way battle that included Fautino De Los Santos and Joey Devine.
I think Balfour gets the job, but could see De Los Santos pushing him by mid-season. Here is Melvin on De Los Santos:
Regarding De Los Santos, Melvin said: "He's a guy that has the ceiling to close at some point. I don't know if it's now."
Who ends up with more saves in 2012: Balfour, Fuentes or De Los Santos?
Brandon Belt went 3-5 to raise his spring triple slash line to .375-.412-.656 with 5 extra base hits. Belt is battling Aubrey Huff for the first base job this spring. Seems crazy that one of their best prospects has to battle a 35 year old nowadays, but the Giants have always favored veterans over younger prospects. Huff is hitting .280-.333-.520 with just 2 extra base hits.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is not only battling a sore wrist after getting hit by a pitch a few days ago, but also a sore knee. He saw a doctor yesterday to get it checked out. Here is Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen on Stanton via MLB.com:
"Giancarlo has a little soreness in his [knee]," Guillen said. "He's being tested right now. It's a lot better. I talked to the doctor today. It's not a big deal. I expect him to start running and doing something in the next couple of days, and then we go from there."
Guillen went on to say he expects Stanton to continue baseball activities on Saturday. I also heard that Guillen is now referring to Stanton as "Mike" Stanton. Not sure if we will see another name change this spring or not.