For Xander Bogaerts, Jurickson Profar, being teammates may have to wait
|02.18.13 at 7:13 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — In 2012, the All-Star Futures Game offered an opportunity to reminisce and, perhaps, a preview of a near-future as teammates for Xander Bogaerts and Jurickson Profar. The two grew up playing in youth international competitions against each other, with Profar representing Curacao and Bogaerts playing shortstop for Aruba. Their competition dates back to Little League.
So, in 2012, the opportunity for the two of them to be teammates, even if only for a day, was a thrilling departure, and offered an opportunity to look back on a shared history that spans more than a decade.
“When I first saw him, it was in Puerto Rico when we were nine. Nobody hit home runs when we were nine. So when he hit one, it was something special,” recalled Profar at the Futures Game. “We’ve played [against each other] since we were nine years old, 10 years old, 11, and then [in 2011] when he was in the same league as I was. He has great hands, a lot of power — he just needs to keep working hard and he’s going to be great.”
“Growing up, I always played against him,” added Bogaerts. “He was always a great player growing up, so I’m not surprised he’s a star now in minor league baseball. He’s a good kid, he’s a good friend of mine also, and a good player. It’s really unbelievable the way we’re both having success right now. I’m happy for him because he’s a good player and good kid.”
Many view both Profar and Bogaerts as ranking among the top 10 prospects in all of baseball right now, a pair of players with impressive skill sets at shortstop who — at just 20 years old — appear poised to make a considerable impact for years to come. That made it tantalizing to imagine the two as teammates during the World Baseball Classic on Team Netherlands, a squad that would include players from both Aruba and Curacao.
Interestingly, neither Profar or Bogaerts was likely to play shortstop. Profar was slated to play second, while Bogaerts is expected to serve as the third baseman and DH for the Netherlands, with both deferring to Andrelton Simmons of the Braves at short.
However, for now, it appears the reunion won’t happen. According to a source close to Profar, the shortstop has decided not to play in the World Baseball Classic. Given that he has an opportunity to make Texas’ Opening Day roster, he instead is expected to remain in Rangers camp in hopes of gaining a foothold on the big league team.
Given what lies in front of his friend — the two have been in touch by phone this spring — as much as Bogaerts would love to play with Profar in the WBC, he understands completely why the 20-year-old Rangers phenom would pass on the event.
“I think if I was in his position, I wouldn’t go to the Classic. I would go to the Rangers,” said Bogaerts.
Even if Profar declines the opportunity to participate in the WBC, however, it’s not expected to impact Bogaerts’ position. Simmons is still expected to man shortstop, and so Bogaerts will get his first exposure to a new position (third base).
The opportunity for Profar and Bogaerts — a pair of precocious and wildly talented 20-year-olds — to enjoy time as teammates will most likely have to wait another four years, for the next WBC — unless, of course, the two can emerge as American League All-Stars before then.
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