We’ve been mental masturbating over Jurickson Profar since way back when many considered him the number one prospect in all of baseball. Great makeup, potential face of a franchise, elite hitter, and hard worker were all phrases thrown about. And a switch hitter to boot. Unfortunately, injuries derailed his career early on and knocked most of the shine off.
But, prospects take time to develop and last year, at the ripe age of 26 years old, Profar was able to stay healthy, post 594 plate appearances, and produce a 20 home run, 10 stolen base season. Is the breakout legit and is he worth a top 120 pick in fantasy? There’s tons to like about Profar’s game. He walks 9% while striking out only 15%. The swinging strike rate is 8% while the contact rate in the strike zone is around 90%. The BABIP last season was only .269, so there’s possible room for improvement in the batting average.
The statcast data has been positive, as last year, the barrel % doubled (from 2.2 to 5), the exit velocity was at a career-high (87.3), the launch angle went from 6.7 to 11.4 to 12.3), and the hard hit% eclipsed 30% for the first time. Now some things that give me trepidation for this upcoming season. Profar was traded from the Rangers to the Athletics. Globe Life Park in Arlington is one of the friendlest hitters parks in all of baseball, for both left and right-handed batters, as it ranks average or above average in every statistical category according to swishanalytics.com. Oakland Coliseum is below average in most, especially for home runs. Profar has played 21 games in Oakland Coliseum over his career. His SLG is .365 during those games. In Globe Life Park, that number was .438 in 175 games.
Now, small sample size and the Athletics pitchers factor into this and such, but it does give some perspective. Since 2013, the Athletics have ranked in the bottom ten for stolen bases attempted. Last season, they were dead last. Sure, Rajai Davis, Coco Crisp, and Craig Gentry were able to post 20+ stolen base seasons in the past, but Billy Beane is usually not a fan of stealing bases. Profar will likely be leading off and he didn’t get caught once last season, so there’s the possibility that Profar could be given the green light more, but I’ll situate myself on the pessimistic side of the fence. That .260 BABIP referenced earlier? In all his time in the majors, he’s never had a number above .291. Most projection systems have him down in the .275-.280 range, so while some improvement may come in that department, it will likely be minimal at best.
I usually like players such as Profar, as he can contribute across the board and has multi-position eligibility, but the cost. 120th overall? I’m not feeling that, especially when regression down from 20/10 seems all but likely. Our resident wizard, Rudy Gamble, has Profar as the 203th overall player and projected for 15 homers, 7 stolen bases, and a .259 average. TRASH