Juremi Profar is in his first season playing for the Frisco RoughRiders, but Dr Pepper Ballpark is a place he knew well before being assigned to Frisco in late March. That’s because Juremi, 21, is the younger brother of Texas Rangers’ infielder/outfielder Jurickson Profar, and he made frequent trips to Frisco in 2012 when Jurickson was playing for the ‘Riders.
When he played here, I came on vacation to watch him play. I liked it here very much. I’m happy to be here right now,” Profar said during Frisco’s Media Day in early April.
Both Profar brothers hail from Curacao, an island nation of approximately 158,000 residents in the Southern Caribbean which is 40 miles off the coast of Venezuela. Despite its small size, Curacao has produced numerous Major Leaguers with several natives currently playing in MLB.
There were two baseball player trailblazers from their island the Profar brothers grew up idolizing…
Yeah, Andruw Jones (is who I loved watching),” Profar said. “Growing up, I was watching Andruw Jones and Jair Jurrjens.”
Jones, who would one day play in Arlington for the Rangers, is the first player from Curacao to make the Majors while Jurrjens was the first Curacao native to pitch in the big leagues.
Currently the Rangers’ No. 27 prospect, according to mlb.com, Profar is currently in his fifth season of professional ball. Last season, he hit .300 with 13 home runs and 58 RBI. Striking out just 11.1 percent of the time, the lowest strikeout rate in the Texas organization, in High Single-A for High Desert who won the California League championship.
Profar knows the Texas League is a much different circuit than the Cal League even though both leagues are considered hitter-friendly. Since Jurickson played in the TL five seasons ago, he already knew what to expect once he arrived in Frisco.
They say it’s a good league, it’s a hard league. I need to be focused, work hard, and everything’s going to be OK,” Profar said.
The Profar brothers spend a lot of time together in the offseason back in Curacao, but these past few spring seasons, they’ve also gotten to see more of each other since they’re both in the Ranger organization. And for Juremi, seeing more of his older brother is a nice bonus.
It’s cool spending time with my brother anywhere. It’s not only baseball. We do a lot of things together. It’s fun to be with him anywhere,” Profar said.
Profar was part of the traveling roster for the sixth annual Big League Weekend in mid-March that saw the Rangers play two exhibition games at the Alamodome in San Antonio against the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians.
Third-year Frisco manager Joe Mikulik liked what he saw from Profar that weekend in the Alamo City and during the rest of the spring.
I saw him play a really nice third base. I saw some really nice plays,” Mikulik said. “I was on that San Antonio trip where he made that one really nice play at third base and then he swung the bat really well. He squared up some balls. He deserves to be here and he’s going to get playing time to show everybody that he can play at this level. He’s probably going to play a lot of third base, but he can move around. He’s another one (who is versatile).”
Many who have seen him play think the best spot for Profar is at third base, but the young prospect admits he’s fine wherever Mikulik wants to play him provided he’s on the field somewhere.
He’s also aware of how close he now is to Arlington, not just in terms of distance, but also in terms of where he’s at in the Ranger organization. In Double-A, prospects can and are regularly called up directly to the Majors. However, he doesn’t concern himself with such hypotheticals.
It’s day-by-day. I don’t worry about how close I am to Arlington. I just do my work, and we’ll see what happens,” Profar said.