Profar, Bogaerts to man middle of the Netherlands' infield
By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com | January 17, 2013 12:00 PM ET
If the Texas Rangers want to see how Jurickson Profar, their prized shortstop prospect, handles playing second base, their evaluators might be best served to tune in with millions of others and watch the World Baseball Classic.
Major League Baseball unveiled provisional rosters for all 16 participating federations, and none other than the Netherlands will receive the biggest boost from top Minor League prospects: MLB.com's No. 1 and No. 31 prospects, Profar (Curacao) and fellow infielder Xander Bogaerts (Aruba), will be joined by third-ranked Orioles prospect Jonathan Schoop (Curacao) as well as fifth-ranked Royals farmhand J.C. Sulbaran.
In fact, Profar, Bogaerts and Schoop could all share the same infield. Profar, who is blocked by All-Star Elvis Andrus in Texas, has the ability to play shortstop and second base, while Bogaerts has played short and Schoop has played second, short and third in the last year. (Of course, the Braves' young Andrelton Simmons, who is more established and no longer a prospect, is also on the Netherlands' roster and will likely get first shot at playing short.)
The switch-hitting Profar, who will celebrate his 20th birthday the same day provisional rosters become finalized on Feb. 20, spent the bulk of his 2012 at Double-A, wowing scouts with his ability to do so many things so well. He appeared in nine games with the Rangers down the stretch -- he homered in his first MLB at-bat -- and will begin the spring with a strong chance of cracking his first Opening Day roster.
A Netherlands-Canada matchup in the WBC -- the third edition of the tournament, and the first since 2009, is on March 2 -- could yield prospect-heavy matchups. Canada has an ace in the making in Jameson Taillon, a starting pitcher in the Pirates system. Ranked as MLB.com's No. 15 overall prospect, Taillon was born stateside like Sulbaran. He leads a squad that includes Phillies farmhands Phillippe Aumont (Quebec), a relief pitcher, and Tyson Gillies (Vancouver), an outfielder.
Also named to their nation's rosters today are two highly-regarded starting pitchers: 10th-ranked Twins prospect Jose Berrios (Puerto Rico) and 18th-ranked White Sox prospect Andre Rienzo (Brazil).
There are 28 available spots on each team's provisional and finalized roster. The latter, once set in ink, must include a minimum of 13 hurlers and two catchers.
Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com and writes the Prospective Blog. Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.