After first declining an offer to join the Dutch team, MLB.com top prospect Jurickson Profar is heading to the World Baseball Classic after all. The middle infielder will replace Yurendell de Caster to make his debut with the Kingdom of the Netherlands during the championship round on Monday against the Pool 2 winner.
Profar, 20, was originally offered a spot with the team in February, but declined in order to compete for a spot with the Rangers. The commitment with the Dutch would have meant a three-week absence from the Rangers' Spring Training camp. He leaves with the blessing of manager Ron Washington and president of baseball operations Jon Daniels.
Profar's primary position is shortstop but Andrelton Simmons of the Braves, who has played short in all seven of Netherlands' games, is batting .370 with two home runs and six RBIs in the tournament. Profar will play second base, with Jonathan Schoop moving to third base and Xander Bogaerts heading to the bench.
The switch-hitter appeared in 16 games as a 19-year-old for the Rangers in 2012, but was a boon for Rangers Double-A affiliate Frisco, where he posted a .820 OPS with 62 RBIs and 14 homers. Profar has a .281/.368/.452 line in his three Minor League seasons. In 16 Cactus League games this spring, he is batting .222 (8-for-36) with five runs, a double, a triple, five RBIs, one stolen base, seven walks and 10 strikeouts.
Gary Cotton is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less