Ryan: Jurickson Profar needs 350 ABs to justify spot

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- So how many at-bats does Jurickson Profar need at the big league level to continue his development?

Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan, who spoke about the club in a nearly 30-minute session with reporters Friday, says he thinks a minimum of 350. It's difficult to imagine the 20-year-old Profar getting that total as a utility player, but Ryan also cautioned to let the spring play out and see what happens. If Profar isn't in the big leagues, he'd go to Triple-A Round Rock.

"If we can't get him the at-bats that I think are appropriate for his development then we'd probably be doing him a disservice to have him as a utility guy and not getting the at-bats and opportunity to play every day," Ryan said Friday. "He's on the verge of being an everyday ballplayer in the big leagues is the way I view him, so to continue toward that development, I would think a minimum of 350 (at-bats) or more."

Ryan conceded that it's tough to figure out how Profar, No. 1 in ESPN.com's Keith Law in his prospect rankings, could do that without playing every day.

"I think you put him out there every day in spring training, give him an opportunity to play short and second, give him as many as at-bats, try to establish a comfort level of where you think he is in his development," Ryan said. "(Let's) see how spring training goes, and at the end of spring training sort it out. I think that's the way it has to be approached.

"That way you have options and you have a comfort level of hopefully where he is and then what the need of the team is, and i think it's a great position to be in."

Ryan said he remembers when the Cincinnati Reds had Barry Larkin that they rotated shortstops and Larkin ended up as the guy. Ryan is glad that the club has the difficulty of trying to figure out what to do with someone with Profar's skill level.

"When you have talent of that nature right at the threshold, yeah, it's challenging," Ryan said, "but it's a good challenge."

Profar turned down an invitation to play for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. He wanted to stay in camp and see if he could increase his chances of making the team by performing well in front of the coaches and front office folks that will ultimately decide when he gets to the big leagues.