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Top Prospect Jurickson Profar to make season debut tonight with the Texas Rangers

Baseball is really a what have you done for me lately league. With Ian Kinsler being put on the 15 day Disabled List, retroactive to Saturday with a right intercostal strain, (strained ribs) top prospect Jurickson Profar has been called up.

If you remember right Profar was called up last season and promptly hit a home run in his first Major League at bat before only playing sparingly down the stretch. He will be splitting time with utility infielder Leury Garcia while Kinsler is out.

This is good news for Profar and the Rangers, as Profar is playing his best baseball of the season right now. Before being recalled on Sunday, Profar hit home runs, 3 and 4 in Saturday nights win for the Round Rock Express (AAA). The latter of the two being the game winner. The two home runs also extended his hitting streak to eight games.

His minor league numbers this season might not look very good right now, he has a .278 average, but over that hitting streak he has raised his average almost 60 points.

The Rangers are likely just playing it safe with Kinsler as they have for the other two starters currently on the Disabled List, C AJ Pierzynski and SP Alexi Ogando, who was supposed to be tonight starter.

Also being called up today is Profars teammate Josh Lindblom whom the Rangers acquired from the Phillies in the Michael Young trade. Lindblom was a middle reliever in the Phillies organization but the Rangers saw him as a starter from the time they acquired him and he has taken to the transition well. After a bad spring that likely cost him a role in the Rangers bullpen he seems to be pitching well of late. He has a 4-0 record with a 2.08 ERA for the Express holding AAA hitters to a .173 average.

He has not started a game this season without Profar playing behind him and maybe that comfort of having him out there tonight will help as the Rangers take on the Oakland A’s.

- Brian Boynton (@gingabeard_man)

Chowin’ Down: The Beltre Buster

Everything really is bigger in Texas, from last seasons introduction of The Boomstick to one of the new items on the menu at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington: The Beltre Buster.IMAG0644

This is torture that should not be wished upon even the worst of enemies. The Beltre Buster is a one pound Nolan Ryan Beef hamburger patty, topped with half a pound of bacon, grilled onions, a mound of cheese and red pepper mayo and if you thought that was enough they decided to put it all on a pretzel bun.

If you decide to buy the burger and then walk to your seat to enjoy your feast there will be a lot of stares and people asking you what your carrying in the box. This burger contains roughly 2,800 calories and 185 grams of fat. I might not eat again for a week

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It can only be found in one location at the ballpark: directly behind home plate on the lower concourse in the Texas Sized 24 concession stand where every item is either 24 inches or 24 ounces.

All the health experts recommend not eating the items from this concession stand alone but I prefer to see if I can conquer these items alone. It is my goal to completely eat every item on this menu by the end of the season. So far I’ve knocked out two of five

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Apparently these items were added to the park to be shared by a group of people but honestly who doesn’t want to see if they have what it takes to finish one-off.

I still don’t understand why they even bothered serving chips with this burger.

-Brian Boynton (@gingabeard_man)

Harrison to join the AL West platoon on the DL

This season has gotten off to an auspicious start for a couple of Opening Day starters in the AL West.

Jered Weaver went on the DL with a broken bone in his non-pitching elbow. He has been put on the shelf for 4-6 weeks. Although he has only missed two starts to this point the Angels have missed his presence on the field.

Matt Harrison was also placed on the DL with back stiffness that had been bothering him for a few weeks. The Rangers have now released a statement that he will undergo surgery on a herniated disk that will keep on the DL until at least after the All-Star Break.

Also throw in Yoenis Cespedes from the Athletics and this season hasn’t been friendly to some of their teams most important players.

-Brian Boynton (@gingabeard_man)

The Pirates may have started a new trend.

No matter how bad your favorite team may be doing at least they’ve had a winning season more frequently than the Pirates have. This is why everybody is secretly a Pittsburgh Pirates fan.

Few admit it, and now the rest of us will pay for our silence. The Pirates are giving out what might be the most amazing player shirt ever given out.

If you haven’t seen the A.J. Burnett shirt yet check it out here.

Now don’t you wish you were there for that game?

-Brian Boynton (@gingabeard_man)

Beard-Off: Duck Dynasty vs. MLB

Take a screenshot of Major League Baseball and you might think one of two things: They are either hockey players in the playoffs or that a few members from the cast of Duck Dynasty are playing for a few teams.

Watching a few baseball games the last few days and seeing some awesome facial hair, and the fact that Duck Dynasty is in the midst of a new season I got kind of curious: Who has the better beards: Jayson Werth and Josh Reddick or the cast of Duck Dynasty?

The case for Werth and Reddick: 

Both Jayson Werth and Josh Reddick play in the outfield for the respective teams (Nationals and A’s). The beards could actually slow them down when tracking fly balls but they could also help them at the plate. These guys OBP (On-Base Percentage) could be insanely high if they are awarded first base when their beards get hit by a pitch. Now Werth is the original bearded beast and Reddick is currently in the middle of a “beard-off” challenge he accepted from professional wrestler, Daniel Bryan. Werth’s beard is the stuff of legends earning him numerous nicknames amongst his fans, the best is probably “Wolf Man”. Reddick is so committed to his beard challenge, he has to grow it out until the end of year, that he has instructed his teammates that if he ever thinks about shaving it off, for any reason, they are to talk him out of it.

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Jayson Werth

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Josh Reddick

The case for Duck Dynasty:

Many of these guys have been growing their beards for years and have no intention or desire to shave them off. Some of them, like Phil, are best known for their beards and would be completely unrecognizable even to their own families without them. When there is a new season of Duck Dynasty the slogan is naturally “The Beards are Back”. They are hunters and need to keep their faces warm and facial hair is the best way to achieve that. Their beards do not in any way affect their ability to perform their jobs nor do they hinder them in any way.

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In a unanimous 3U3D poll we decided that the cast of Duck Dynasty have the best beards. It is not however a knock on Werth and Reddick but the fact that the cast of Duck Dynasty is best known for their beards and they have quite the advantage in terms of time of growth.

-Brian Boynton (gingabeard_man)

One Out Away

“One Out Away” was the theme for Rangers fans Tuesday night as they saw Yu Darvish’s bid for a perfect game ended after he completed 8 2/3 innings. “One Out Away” was all I saw on my twitter feed after the perfect game bid was ended. One Out Away……

If you haven’t seen the hit that ended it all watch it here.

Marwin Gonzalez ruined the night on a cutter that didn’t cut on what was Darvish’s 111th and final pitch of the evening. He had pitched a gem all night striking out 14 Astros and only allowing one ball that was hit well, a Chris Carter fly out that David Murphy caught against the wall in left center.

“One Out Away” is a phrase that not only took center stage on what should have been Darvish’s night but it is also a phrase that has festered in the minds of Rangers fans since October 27, 2011.

Darvish wasn’t a member of the Texas Rangers or even playing for a team in Major League Baseball on that fateful night when the St. Louis Cardinals battled back against the Rangers to win Game 6 in extra innings. I think that game however, is one of the main reasons why they signed him out of Japan that offseason.

The Rangers knew they needed a dominant pitcher who could take the mound deep into games. He is proving more with every start that he can be that player.

From his first outing of his rookie season against the Mariners in which he walked the first batter of the game, Chone Figgins, and gave up five runs over 5 2/3 innings. To his first start of the 2013 season when he was “One Out Away” from a perfect game. This start was also his first start for the Rangers in which he did not walk a batter.

Darvish is the type of pitcher with the pitches he can command that will likely be in line for a few more of these games over his career. Maybe not potential perfect games, but we will all see dominant pitching performances from him for years. There are few players across sports that when they take the field you should stop and watch them and Yu Darvish is one of those players.

Maybe one day the Rangers will find a way to get that last out and as Anthony Andro tweeted, Ian Kinsler couldn’t have reiterated that thought better:

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One Out Away…..

-Brian Boynton (@gingabeard_man)

Rangers and Elvis Andrus agree on a long-term extension

Where did all these teams find the money? Following the trend of giving young marquee players huge extensions the Texas Rangers have signed two time All-Star shortstop Elvis Andrus to an eight year extension worth $120 million.

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The Rangers now have $131 million committed to Andrus over the next 10 seasons. Looking at similar deals given to young shortstops like Troy Tulowitzki the Rangers could have just signed Andrus to a very team friendly deal.

Andrus can opt out four years into his extension which will go into effect after his current deal expires after the 2014 season. So he will be in a Rangers uniform until he is at least 30 and maybe until he is 34 if he decides not to opt out.

This signing is very good news for the Rangers as both Hanley Ramirez and Derek Jeter’s contracts both expire after the 2014 season, and face it the free spending Yankees and Dodgers are both capable of outbidding the Rangers for Andrus.

The Rangers now have some flexibility on the field that GM Jon Daniels will have to work out. He has some very important personal decisions to make regarding certain players futures with the team. What does this extension mean for Ian Kinsler, Jurickson Profar and many others on the team?

This move almost certainly means that top prospect Jurickson Profar will either be the Rangers second baseman in the future or he could be the centerpiece in a deal that brings either David Price or Giancarlo Stanton to Texas. Both of whom are expected to be available  as they near free agency and arbitration respectively. That future could come later this season if Kinsler is moved to first base or elsewhere in the field.

Mitch Moreland could be the player most directly affected by this signing. Before Spring Training this season for the first time in his career Moreland was the starting first baseman from day one. He won’t be platooned like he has in the past few seasons, being sat down against lefties. One reason for this is because of the loss of Michael Young and Mike Napoli but the team also thinks he has matured into an everyday player. With this signing though his leash has likely been shortened and they might be quicker to pull him in favor of bringing Profar up and moving Kinsler over.

Currently the Rangers only have two outfielders on the big league roster under contract past this season, Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin. Both Nelson Cruz and David Murphy could hit free agency at the end of this season if they can’t agree on extensions with the team. So the Rangers could look to next season and try Kinsler in the outfield to see if he can be a replacement for either one of them.

What do you think of the signing? What should the Rangers do about Profar now? Let us know in the comments.

-Brian Boynton (@gingabeard_man)

3U3D Break it Down: The A.L. West

The AL West last season was arguably the best division in baseball with three teams finishing with 89 wins or better. The Oakland A’s led the division for one day last season seizing it from the Texas Rangers after beating the Rangers in game 162.

The AL West will once again be among the best divisions in baseball in 2013.

1. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Key Additions: Josh Hamilton

Ryan Madson

Key Losses: Dan Haren

Ervin Santana

Torii Hunter

The Angels should have one of the best offenses in baseball next season after adding Josh Hamilton this offseason. As well as having a full season of Mike Trout. The Angels do however have a weak rotation after Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson. The back-end of the bullpen is strong in Scott Downs and Ernesto Frieri but getting to them could be the achilles heel of this team. Ryan Madson is a bit of a wild card in the bullpen because he didn’t pitch last season due to injury. If they are to win it will be on the backs of the lineup when Weaver and Wilson are not on the mound.

2. Texas Rangers

Key Additions: A.J. Pierzynski

Lance Berkman

Key Losses:  Josh Hamilton

Michael Young

Mike Napoli

The Rangers lost about a third of their offense with the losses of Hamilton, Young, and Napoli. The strength of this team, likely for the first time in the franchises history, is the rotation led by Matt Harrison, and Yu Darvish but followed by two starters who have had good success in the majors before in Alexi Ogando and Derek Holland. If this team is going to win it will be on the arms of the rotation. Pierzynski should help the rotation giving them a solid catcher who can catch 100+ games. The bullpen should get a boost midseason when Neftali Feliz, Joakim Soria and Colby Lewis should return from injuires.

3. Oakland A’s

Key Additions: Jed Lowrie

John Jaso

Hiroyuki Nakajima

Key Losses:  Brandon McCarthy

Chris Carter

Cliff Pennington

The A’s once again will depend on their pitching staff to lead them. They have great depth in the rotation and in the minors behind them. The bullpen is solid and is probably the best in the division. Look for Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick to once again lead the offense for the A’s. Even with Jemile Weeks being optioned back to the minors they are solid across the field defensively.

4. Seattle Mariners

Key Additions: Kendrys Morales

Kelly Shoppach

Michael Morse

Key Losses: John Jaso

The Mariners should benefit offensively from moving the fences in, in the offseason. Morales should add some stability to the middle of the lineup along with Jesus Montero. Montero who is in his second full year should be more at ease because he likely be behind the plate most of the season and not shuffled between catcher, first base and DH. This team will once again look to Felix Hernandez to lead them and go deep into games as the bullpen is not very deep behind Tom Wilhelmsen.

5. Houston Astros

Key Additions: Rick Ankiel

Carlos Pena

Chris Carter

Key Losses: Jed Lowrie

Philip Humber

The Astros are still in the rebuilding phase and with a new front office they are headed in the right direction. This offseason the Astros may have dumped some key players but in return they acquired some talented prospects who could make this team competitive in a few seasons. Besides who doesn’t like adding a player with a perfect game on his resume?

MVP

The Angels could have a few players who will be in the running for MVP at the end of the season and they are the only team with a legitimate option. The players on the Angels who could win will all benefit from each other being on the team. Mike Trout has the best chance as he almost won it last year as a rookie. Having Trout on base and not having Torii Hunter hitting ahead of him stealing some RBIs, Albert Pujols could have a career year, statistically. Also having a guy like Josh Hamilton hitting behind him will benefit Pujols as he will see even better pitches. Finally Hamilton has a good chance of being in the running when the season ends having Trout and Pujols being on base in front of him and he has a legitimate home run threat behind him in Mark Trumbo. The Angels are stacked offensively and they could steal votes from each other though.

Cy Young

Three pitchers in the AL West should all be in the discussion for the Cy Young at the end of the season.

Felix Hernandez (SEA) Already has one to his name and is perennially one of the best pitchers in baseball regardless of how his team finishes.

2012 stats: 13-9   3.06 ERA    223 SO    1.14 WHIP

Jered Weaver (LAA) Weaver was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball last season finishing third in the AL Cy Young.

2012 stats: 20-5   2.81 ERA   142 SO   1.02 WHIP

Yu Darvish (TEX) Entering his second MLB season he has all the stuff to be an elite pitcher and the bigger the game was last season the better he pitched.

2012 stats: 16-9  3.90 ERA   221 SO  1.28 WHIP

Rookie of the Year

The A’s and Rangers both have rookies who could see some serious playing time as they do battle in the division.  Dan Straily will stick in the Athletics rotation with the departure of Brandon McCarthy to Arizona.  If Jurickson Profar or Mike Olt can get some playing time in the Rangers infield they have the talent to be in the Rookie of the Year race.

There are my views on how the the new A.L. West will shape up.  What about you?  Who do you thinks take the A.L. West crown this year?  Let us know in the comments!

-Brian Boynton (@GingaBeard_Man)

Teixiera trade still paying off for the Rangers

The Texas Rangers recently signed Matt Harrison to a five-year extension, worth $55 million, keeping the All Star left hander in Arlington through 2018. The first two years of the contract, which buy out his remaining years of arbitration, will net Harrison $13 million combined. While the final three years of the contract will earn him $13 million a season.

Harrison, 27, led the team in wins last season at 18. He has proved he can stay healthy and consistent which has plagued many of his teammates in the rotation. Over the last two seasons he has pitched nearly 400 innings, setting a career high in 2012 with 213 1/3 innings, with a 3.34 ERA.

The Rangers now have a core rotation with ages of 27 (Harrison), 29 (Ogando), 26 (Darvish), 26 (Holland). Three of which are signed through 2016.

Last offseason the Rangers won the bidding rights for 25-year-old right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish who they then signed for 6 years. Then right before the start of last season they agreed to a five-year contract extension with left hander Derek Holland who was slated to become a free agent after the 2015 season.

The Rangers have had an extremely hard time of bringing in free agent pitchers in the past  and locking up their younger pitchers has been of extreme importance in recent years. So having Darvish, Harrison, and Holland locked up through what should be the prime of their careers should lead to rotation stability for the next few seasons.

I’m not saying that all or any of these guys will be in the rotation in 2016 but having that much stability is something this franchise has been desperately missing for many years. Knowing what their rotation has for the next few seasons affords this team much more flexibility than it has previously had.

A lot of players on this team are the same guys who came within one strike, TWICE, of winning the World Series. So locking up as many of these young players should be the franchises first priority. Next that needs to be signed is Elvis Andrus.

-Brian Boynton

What Were You Doing When You Were 19?

What were you doing when you were 19? Jurickson Profar was hitting bombs for the Texas Rangers.

When I was 19 I was trying to figure out what my major was going to be and making my way through college. A pair of nineteen year olds have decided their futures and are already more successful at their craft than I am. Each made their major league debuts this season and one has been historic.

Jurickson Profar made his debut at the exact same age, 19 years 195 days, as Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. Harper hit a double in his first game while Profar did even better by hitting a home run in his first at bat. Hitting a home run was not enough for the young rookie as he stepped up in his next at bat and promptly hit a line drive double down the left field line.

Finishing the day 2-4 and becoming the first teenager with 2 extra-base hits in his first career game since Johnny Callison in 1958. With his home run he also became only the third teenager to hit a home run in his first at bat. He is also now the youngest player in Texas Rangers history to hit a home run besting previous record holder Ivan Rodriguez by three months. Not a bad day for a player who isn’t even old enough to buy his own drink.

He led off the third inning with a home run to right and became the youngest player to hit a homer since his teammate Adrian Beltre did it for the Dodgers in 1998.

With Harper and fellow rookie Mike Trout being called up earlier this season in April, Profar became arguably the most highly touted prospect in the minors.(I might have a slight biased opinion on this) The three players are not comparable at this time though. Trout and Harper were immediately added to the everyday lineup, while Profar is being used part-time. His role will likely be as a fill-in player when either Elvis or Kinsler needs a day off or as a pinch runner as he has good speed on the bags.

This isn’t the first time that Jurickson Profar has homered in a major league park during a game though. He led off the futures game in Kansas City with a home run as a member of the international team as part of the All-Star week in July.

Profar was added to the 40-man roster on August 31st and is getting his first major league action as a September call-up. He was a late addition to the lineup on Sunday being inserted for Ian Kinsler at second base, who was scratched due to a stiff back.

Rangers fans also may have seen what the future of their infield could look like for a long time coming. With the addition of Profar at second the Rangers have possibly the most athletic middle infield in baseball. He has shown some brilliance with the glove including finishing a double play to the end the first.

-Brian Boynton

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