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Jurickson Profar to Padres - Fantasy Impact


The Oakland Athletics recently sent infielder Jurickson Profar to the San Diego Padres in exchange for catcher Austin Allen and a player to be named later. Upon making the trade, San Diego and Profar immediately agreed on a deal for $5.7 million for this upcoming season to avoid arbitration.

The Padres finished 70-92 in 2019 and could use help both offensively and defensively as they finished 13th in the NL in runs scored and 11th in runs allowed. Profar likely takes over at second base for the unproductive duo of veteran Ian Kinsler and long-time St. Louis Cardinal, Greg Garcia, and should serve to replace both.

This was apparently just the tip of the iceberg for the Padres as they recently swung a deal for outfielder Tommy Pham. Whether or not Profar will make a significant impact is yet to be determined, but a look into his 2019 advanced metrics may be able to give us an idea of how he will impact the Padres roster as well as how being injected into their lineup could influence his production.

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Finally Time for Profar to Shine?

Profar was once a highly-touted prospect in the Rangers farm system that was deemed nearly untouchable when teams would approach the Rangers in trade talks. Unfortunately, he never lived up to the hype in Texas, but he was also never given a fair shake in the minds of many. He only had one season of over 300 AB with Texas and that came in 2018. This also happened to be his most productive season, where he hit .254/.335/.448 with 20 home runs, 82 runs, 77 RBI, and 10 stolen bases in 524 AB. These amounted to career highs in each category. Not a bad season by any stretch of the imagination, but can he repeat it? If last season was any indication, the answer is a resounding maybe.

In 2019, Profar was given a similar number of at-bats with 459. He managed to hit .218/.301/.410 with 20 home runs, 65 runs, 67 RBI, and nine stolen bases. The adjustment to Oakland's park, which allows .353 fewer runs per game by adjusted park metrics, could have impacted his overall stats, but Profar's home and road splits were not too far off from one another in 2019. Also, San Diego is not much better as Petco Park is ranked near the bottom of park-adjusted metrics as well. In any event, let's take a deeper look into Profar's metrics from a season ago and see if we can get a glimpse into what we can expect in 2020.

When taking a look into Profar's advanced metrics, he does not jump off the page in any one category. He put up a solid walk rate (9.3%), strikeout rate (14.5%), ISO (.192), and walks per strikeout rate (.64). He struggled with a BABIP of .218 to match his batting average, which ranked him at the very bottom of the league. His .251 xBA was much higher and more respectable. This strikes me as being very unlucky, so in 2020 you could easily expect this to increase.

He also had an awful wOBA of .313, which ranked in the bottom 25% of the league. This is not due to luck and should be a red flag heading into 2020. However, Profar did put up a solid .361 wOBA vs. lefthanders, which gives credence to the idea that he could end up in a platoon with Garcia. This would obviously hinder his fantasy value.

 

Effect on the other Padres

This affects Greg Garcia the most as he will lose plenty of playing time to Profar. How his insertion into the lineup will affect them as a whole is debatable. Garcia had rather solid metrics, including a 14.2% walk rate and .323 BABIP.  However, his wOBA vs. righties (.341) was considerably higher than vs. lefties (.268). A platoon of Garcia and Profar should help the lineup given each of the second basemen's respective performances against "opposite" hand pitching. Profar is a natural switch hitter but hits better from the right side of the plate.

I do not want to attempt to create a Padres lineup vs. left and right-handed pitching as they tended to switch up their order quite a bit in 2019, but Profar will likely hit near the bottom of the order since the Padres recently traded for Tommy Pham, who should hit leadoff vs. lefties in 2020.

Top infield prospect Luis Urias was recently traded to the Brewers and the Padres seem to be making moves to win now, so the idea that the position will be taken over by an upcoming player seems unlikely.

 

Conclusion

In the end, Profar is a mixed bag. He has much better numbers vs. lefties in terms of OPS, AVG, OBP, SLG, and wOBA, but he has more home runs per plate appearance vs. righties. This has been the case over the past couple of seasons as well. He also has the unfortunate task of hitting in Petco Park this season, which certainly is not the best park for hitters, although it does favor right-handed hitters more so than left-handed hitters.

Ultimately, Profar will be at his best if he is platooned with Greg Garcia or another player where Profar settles in as the right-handed side of the platoon. In any event, his fantasy value will not be very high heading into 2020, especially if he loses multi-positional eligibility that he had last year. He could see value in weekly leagues when he is facing a heavy dose of left-handed pitching, but other than that he is not someone that would be on my roster outside of NL-only leagues.

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