Teenager Profar makes homer history for Rangers
MLB.com's No. 4 prospect first Texas player to go deep in first at-bat
CLEVELAND -- You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Jurickson Profar's will not soon be forgotten.
The 19-year-old Profar, Texas' top prospect and No. 4 overall prospect, according to MLB.com, provided a sneak preview of his shimmering future in an unforgettable Major League debut on Sunday. The club's top prospect homered in his first big league at-bat, a 388-foot shot that sparked Texas to an 8-3 win over the Indians in the rubber match of a three-game set at Progressive Field.
"I felt like I didn't have to do much when I went to the plate," Profar said. "I trust these guys, so I didn't feel any pressure. I got a fastball and I put a good swing on it. ... Once I hit it, I was thinking, 'Go. Go. Go.'"
Profar launched a 2-1 fastball from Indians starter Zach McAllister over the right-field fence for a home run to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead in what developed into a four-run third inning. He became the first Rangers player to homer in his first career at-bat. Former Texas outfielders Rusty Greer and Ruben Sierra both hit homers in their second Major League at-bats.
"He's a special little kid and he loves to play the game," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He went out there and rose to the occasion."
Profar is the third player this season to homer in his first career at-bat, joining Pirates outfielder Starling Marte and Padres catcher Eddy Rodriguez.
"First at-bat, home run? That's pretty impressive," said left-hander Derek Holland, who earned the victory on Sunday with seven strong innings. "You don't get to see that too often, especially for it to be a first Major League at-bat. I'm very happy for him. I thought he did a great job at the plate all game and he played good defense, too."
The Rangers promoted the Curacao native on Saturday from Double-A Frisco. At 19 years, 195 days old, he's the third-youngest player to take the field for the Rangers, behind former pitchers David Clyde and Wilson Alvarez. Profar is the first teenager to play for the Rangers since Ivan Rodriguez in 1991.
"He's pretty impressive," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "I saw him before in the instructional league. Obviously, he's one of the top prospects in the game. He showed today how it appears kind of easy for him. First at-bat in the big leagues, no problem, 10 rows back, home run. Second one, double. He looks like he's been there, done that, 19 years old. That's amazing."
Profar, who added a double in his second at-bat, is the third teenager in Major League history to sock one over the fence, and the youngest to hit a homer in his first at-bat since teammate Adrian Beltre clubbed one at the age of 19 years and 171 days on Sept. 25, 1998, as a member of the Dodgers.
"It is a big deal, especially a kid coming from Double-A, 19 years old," Washington said. "He stepped into the Major League box and it didn't seem like it fazed him. It's the game he's been playing his entire life and he just continued to play it. That's special."