When the Padres traded Luis Urias to the Milwaukee Brewers they created a void at second base, though they took a step at filling it with the acquisition of Jurickson Profar. While it’s no guarantee that Profar was acquired to be a starter, coming off a disastrous season, he has the upside. Obviously just looking at the 2019 numbers wouldn’t indicate that type of potential:
459 At Bats
.218 Batting Average (100 Hits)
20 Home Runs
9 Stolen Bases
.301 On Base Percentage
.410 Slugging Percentage
.218 Batting Average on Balls in Play
It was a year earlier that the former top prospect in baseball had seemingly found his footing, but the trade to Oakland didn’t work for him. He continued to show power, but outside of that it would appear that there is little to hang our hats on. Of course just looking at the surface numbers doesn’t always tell the entire story.
Profar struggled with popups (18.9% IFFB) and started pulling ball a little bit more (22.5% Oppo%), but neither of those numbers justify a meager .218 BABIP. That’s especially true when you see a 37.7% Hard% as well as a strong approach with an 8.3% SwStr% and 29.0% O-Swing%.
He surprisingly struggled against fourseam fastballs (.192 AVG, .326 SLG), and an improvement there would be a significant step towards a bounce back. It’s not like he struggled to make contact, whether it was a hard pitch or anything else (Whiff%):
- Hard – 5.89%
- Breaking – 12.74%
- Offspeed – 14.32%
Then you have the interesting struggle against right-handed pitchers, and while he performed better against southpaws in 2018 this type of discrepancy just shouldn’t be:
- vs. LHP – .305/.378/.457
- vs. RHP – .192/.278/.395
He did take an even more pull heavy approach against righties (20.8% Oppo%, compared to 28.1% against LHP), but is that really enough of a reason? He posted a .181 BABIP against RHP (.337 against LHP), and while we wouldn’t expect him to maintain the better number it does show the upside.
The fact that, even during his struggles, he proved capable of hitting the ball out of any ballpark while stealing a few bases helps to show the potential. Even at his 2018 production (.254, 20 HR, 10 SB) he’d be a usable option, but the potential is still there for more. While others may write him off based on a poor 2019, don’t make that mistake.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball