Rangers' Profar Carves Up Texas League
Shortstop Jurickson Profar
, the youngest player in the Double-A Texas League at the start of the season, was its player of the month for May after hitting .322 with three homers, nine doubles and two triples, 14 RBIs and 21 runs. The Curacao native led the league in runs, doubles and extra-base hits, and he reached in all 28 May games as part of a 50-game streak of reaching base.
Profar, 19, continues to impress with his makeup. He jumped from low Class A to Double-A this season but has maintained an advanced approach at the plate that had produced a .291/.369/.482 average with nine home runs in 299 at-bats. The 165-pound shortstop still has room to grow physically.
Biggest Leap Forward:
The Rangers' scouting and development department should take a bow for sticking with righthander Justin Grimm
, whose draft stock slid two years ago coming out of Georgia. The Rangers nabbed him in the fifth round, helped him smooth out his mechanics, and on June 16 he made his major league debut as an injury replacement for Derek Holland. Grimm jumped from Frisco after going 8-3, 1.87 in 13 starts, and what made him most attractive was a nearly 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Biggest Disappointment: Neil Ramirez
, the 44th overall pick in the 2007 draft, was in big league spring training for the first time this year after a breakthrough season in 2011. The Rangers added the righthander to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, and considered him a top candidate to join them should injuries require help from the minors.
Ramirez, though, hasn't come close to reaching expectations. In fact, the Rangers demoted him to Double-A on June 22 after he went 6-8, 7.66 with 63 strikeouts and 31 walks in 15 starts at Triple-A Round Rock. The 23-year-old had surrendered 12 homers in 74 innings, in part because his velocity dipped and he had trouble repeating his mechanics.
• Lefthander Neal Cotts recorded two saves in his first five appearances for Round Rock. Cotts, 32, was signed to a minor league deal during spring training but emerged as one of two finalists to be the lefty in the Rangers' bullpen. He strained a lat muscle late in camp and wasn't activated until June 12.
• Righthander Cody Buckel, who turned 20 on June 18, made his debut at Frisco on June 24 and was the losing pitcher after allowing two runs in four innings. Buckel went 5-3, 1.31 with a .186 opponents average in 13 starts at high Class A Myrtle Beach.