When will Texas turn to Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt?
If the Rangers have their likely druthers, neither member of fantasy baseball's most highly coveted prospects will be on the 25-man roster for most of the season. The club inked worn-down veteran Lance Berkman to a one-year deal so that he would serve as DH, eliminating scenarios in which other position players fill that void on occasion to accommodate one of the green youngsters.
Everyone knows that Berkman is far from dependable because of his propensity to develop injuries. This certainly qualifies as justification for Profar's and Olt's spots on reserve rosters everywhere this spring. In mixed leagues, this pretty much seems like a waste of a resource, but in AL-only setups, casting a penny into that well isn't exactly a poor decision. There may even be reason to employ the tactic in 15-team leagues that have an MLB universe. The Rangers' plan for 2013 just doesn't seem likely to involve long-term major league exposure for either player, however. Each spent the 2012 campaign, save his call-up, at Double-A Frisco.
Texas has more question marks and greater flexibility at the corners, probably not by accident. Adrian Beltre, 34 in April, isn't a complete stranger to the DL. Mitch Moreland, 27, hasn't yet convinced the organization that he can hit left-handed pitching. Olt, the third baseman, is 24, has a polished game and has the likelier avenues to PT. Heck, the Rangers put the kid in right a couple of times last season. Who's to say they don't rearrange the outfield to find room for his bat this summer - especially if they aren't scoring the way they're expected?
As far as Profar, 20, is concerned, Texas isn't committed to Ian Kinsler beyond this season and, unless he becomes an outfielder, probably won't contemplate the idea of an extension for him. The long-time second baseman for the Rangers has been known to be a visitor to the infirmary on occasion, it's worth nothing.
In the end, no one knows how the Rangers will handle a situation that presents an opportunity to promote one of these players. That's largely because the front office can't know until that scenario arises and they've taken all aspects into consideration. A debilitating injury to any of club's regulars would probably prompt internal discussion about the possibility of bringing one of the two potential future studs up. The club's bench is pretty thin. Olt and Profar are tantalizing lotto tickets.
Berkman, 37, is at it again, by the way. Interest in him will likely be lukewarm, at best, and that works in the favor of willing investors. The switch-hitter is expected to bat third in one of the AL's best lineups, and the upgrade in hitting environment is a big plus. Buying Berkman on the cheap may not yield much of anything, but if it doesn't, who cares?
How is this year's rotation shaping up?
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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