Bounce Back or Bust: Will Jurickson Profar Rebound Or Should He Be Completely Written Off?

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A highly hyped acquisition for the Oakland A’s prior to 2019, Profar fell completely flat in his first season in Oakland. Just when we thought he had finally gotten past the injuries and realized his full potential, Profar “rewarded” owners with the following pathetic numbers:

459 At Bats
.218 Batting Average (100 Hits)
20 Home Runs
67 RBI
65 Runs
9 Stolen Bases
.301 On Base Percentage
.410 Slugging Percentage
.218 Batting Average on Balls in Play

What’s really interesting, though, is that a lot of the underlying numbers are similar to his 2018 success (.254 with 20 HR, 77 RBI, 82 R and 10 SB over 524 AB). Just look for yourself:

  • Strikeout Rate – 14.8% vs. 14.5%
  • Walk Rate – 9.1% vs. 9.3%
  • Hard% – 37.3% vs. 37.7%
  • Fly Ball Rate – 34.3% vs. 37.0%
  • Oppo% – 27.3% vs. 22.5%

Profar’s BABIP was the third lowest among hitters with at least 300 PA in 2019. While he was pulling the ball more than he had been previously, does it really justify this big of a drop?

How about his approach at the plate, where he was actually staying within the strike zone more (his O-Swing% went from 33.3% to 29.0%)? He also didn’t struggle with swings and misses against any type of pitch:

  • Hard – 5.85%
  • Breaking Balls – 12.95%
  • Offspeed – 14.25%

Profar surprisingly hit just .192 against fourseam fastballs, a year after hitting .276 against the pitch. That alone tells you that an improvement is inevitable, and with all the supporting numbers there things should be significantly better.

You do have to wonder if Profar is destined to be a platoon player, considering this split from last season:

  • vs. RHP – .192/.278/.395
  • vs. LHP – .305/.378/.457

Again, he owned a .462 SLG against righties in ’18 so there isn’t reason for panic. Everything points to him at least getting back to his “breakout” campaign, and it’s not unthinkable that he gets even better. Profar was heavily hyped for a reason, and while last year was disastrous it also doesn’t eliminate his upside. As long as the at bats are there, and he’s going to have to earn them (he likely won’t enter the year as the full time starter), ultimately we’d expect him to emerge.

Don’t be afraid to stash him on your bench in deeper formats, as you should ultimately reap the rewards.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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