Sunday was a big day for Jurickson Profar and his fantasy owners. With news that Ian Kinsler was headed to the disabled list with an intercostal strain, the Rangers decided it was finally time to bring up their prized prospect who hit .326 (28-for-86) over his last 21 games at Triple-A Round Rock and enjoyed his first career two-homer game Saturday night. He was in uniform, but he did not play. It is not yet known how long Kinsler will be out for, but it would seem that this is an injury that probably won’t require more than the 15 day minimum. So the big questions are: for how long will Profar be up and what is his current fantasy value? Well, my fantasy heart goes out to the dedicated and hopeful who have been stashing the potential rookie of the year, because I’d have to say not long and not much if we’re talking about right now.
There’s no denying Profar’s overall level of talent. He is expected to be an elite infielder (originally a shortstop but moved to second After Elvis Andrus signed his eight-year contract extension) who should prove to be a very dangerous power/speed combo. Keeper league owners have been onto him for a couple of years now and his value on a long-term level is extremely high. But while the apparent opportunity to prove his worth is here, he’s going to have to go way beyond expectations to stay.
First off, the team announced that while Profar would play, he was going to be sharing second base duties with utility infielder Leury Garcia who received the starting nod Sunday. They haven’t announced how the time will be split, but one would think that if the Rangers have six games this week, he’ll play in at least four of them. It’s not that the Rangers doubt his ability to play at this level, but easing him just might be better, albeit conservative, in the end.
Second, there’s the strong likelihood that Kinsler is only lost for two weeks. He has already expressed an unwillingness to move over to first base and with the way Mitch Moreland has been playing recently, you wouldn’t want to make that switch anyway. So unless Profar is absolutely raking, it wouldn’t benefit the team to keep him up. Of course, Moreland could slow down and Kinsler could soften on his stance, but how long that takes is an unknown. You don’t want your top prospect idly sitting on the bench when he could be honing his skills and every day down at Round Rock.
Obviously if Profar starts to hit immediately and make a huge impact, serious decisions will need to be made, but it seems like the Rangers are keeping everything low key, possibly because they don’t see him staying beyond the two weeks right now. There are plans in place for the future, but this was an unexpected turn of events and the team doesn’t really seem ready for the full change.
If you’re a Profar owner, the temptation to activate him for this week is probably huge. However, I think you need to rein in your enthusiasm and lower your expectations before making moves you probably shouldn’t make. If you’re in a league with weekly roster moves and you have a legitimate full-time guy you can start, then you will probably want to keep Profar on the bench and go with the bigger opportunity to rack up stats. If you make daily roster moves you can play the match-ups each day, but again, if you have a solid guy you can start over him, for right now, I would lean that way. You can go with Profar if he comes out swinging hard, but I wouldn’t lead with that.
It all might be a wait-and-see situation for now, but you shouldn’t go into this week expecting big things from the kid. You can certainly hope for the best, but don’t be reliant on him. This really isn’t how the Rangers wanted things to unfold and that alone could be the ultimate deciding factor regardless of how he produces. The last thing you want to do is pin your hopes on a guy who is likely to be back in the minors in two weeks’ time.
Now let’s hit those Sunday highlights…
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B DET||4-4, 4 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI, BB|
Wow. Just wow. Miguel Cabrera is just such an amazing hitter. But is there anything I can tell you now that you don’t already know? While he may be a phenomenal guy to watch, he sure is boring to write about. How many different ways can I tell you how awesome he is? And really….what kind of fantasy advice can I really provide with regards to his game? Um, start him? If I gave you any advice other than that, I’d be wrong. So if you own him, enjoy him. If you don’t, too bad. Trading for him right now would be an exercise in futility. You wouldn’t be able to acquire him without completely destroying the rest of your team.
|Everth Cabrera, SS SD||2-6, 2 R, 2 RBI, 3 SB|
|Yonder Alonso, 1B SD||3-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI|
|David Murphy, OF TEX||2-3, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, BB|
|Justin Masterson, SP CLE||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 11 K|
|Ricky Nolasco, SP MIA||W, 1.13 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 11 K|
Give it up for the speed of Everth Cabrera. With a three-steal day Sunday, Cabrera has now stolen a base in each of his last five games and now has a league-leading 18 steals on the year. The batting average is still a bummer, but he’s cut down on the strikeouts and improved the walk rate, so the OBP is strong. Not many believed in him to repeat as the NL’s stolen base champion, but so far he’s looking like a pretty safe bet.
Yonder Alonso hit his second home run in as many days and now has six on the year. With a .290 average and 25 RBI, he’s proving to be a valuable asset as a corner infielder. Over his last seven games, he’s 10-for-25 (.400) with two home runs, four RBI and five runs scored and will spend half of the upcoming week in hitter-friendly Arizona.
While I’m not yet sold that David Murphy is completely out of the woods from a slump that helped drag his average down to the current .215 mark, it’s encouraging to see him with his second two-hit game in his last four. A bit more consistency before I endorse him, but he definitely has the skill set to be a regular in your lineup. Provided, of course, that he builds off of this and doesn’t revert back.
You have to love being a Justin Masterson owner lately as the 28-year old right-hander has been outstanding lately with three consecutive quality starts in which he’s posted a collective 1.18 ERA and a 27:7 K:BB over 23 innings. He does have a tough match-up this week with Boston, a team that knocked him around for four runs on 11 hits over five innings. He’s also just 2-1 with a 5.29 ERA through his last three starts at Fenway.
And then there’s good ol’ Ricky Nolasco. He pitched a gem here against Arizona and now has two quality starts in his last three outings, but let’s face it. The guy is far too inconsistent for you to trust him regularly. Personally, I’d keep him on the bench this week as he faces the White Sox at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular. You don’t need that kind of ratio blow-up this week, do you?
|Anthony Rizzo, 1B CHC||0-4, 3 K|
|Joe Mauer, C MIN||0-4, 3 K|
|Mark Reynolds, 1B CLE||0-4, 3 K|
|Dan Haren, SP WAS||L, 12.60 ERA, 2.20 WHIP, 5 K|
|Aroldis Chapman, RP CIN||L, 54.00 ERA, 9.00 WHIP|
That’s some load of talent here in this section today, huh? About the only one who really belongs here regularly now is Dan Haren. His struggles will likely continue, but the other four are probably just passing through. OK, maybe Mark Reynolds circles back for a few extra appearances based on strikeouts.....
Stephen Drew, SS BOS – back (day to day)
Zack Cozart, SS CIN – illness (day to day)
Ronny Cedeno, SS, HOU – illness (day to day)
Bud Norris, SP HOU – back (day to day)
Luis Cruz, 3B LAD – elbow (day to day)
Aramis Ramirez, 3B MIL – knee (day to day)
Chris Stewart, C NYY – groin (day to day)
John Jaso, C NYY – leg (day to day)
Ryan Howard, 1B PHI – knee (day to day – headed for MRI)
Andrew McCutchen, OF PIT – knee (day to day)
Jose Molina, C TB – hamstring (day to day)
Ian Kinsler, 2B TEX – ribs (15-day DL)
Bryce Harper, OF WAS – knee (day to day)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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