There was a brief period in the early offseason when it was thought that perhaps prospect Jurickson Profar would be given the Rangers’ second base job, moving Ian Kinsler to first base. But that’s out the window:
I’m assuming Profar’s ineffectiveness and forearm inflammation in winter ball put to rest any notion of giving him the second base job. If, indeed, that notion ever truly resided in Ron Washington’s head. Kid is still 19 years-old, after all.
Profar, it would seem, will start the season in Triple-A, where he has yet to play. He hit .281/.368/.452 in a full season in the Texas League last year which is pretty astounding for a guy his age. But really, nothing will be harmed and much could be gained by giving him some more time in the minors.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: