Jurickson Profar started horribly slow with the Padres, but he’s been one of the hottest hitters over the last month.
Ever since Tommy Pham was injured in the series finale against the Diamondbacks, the Padres haven’t missed a beat in left field as one of the most unlikely sources has stepped in admirably. In a roundabout manner, Jake Cronenworth garnered more playing time filling in for Eric Hosmer at first, moving Jurickson Profar off of second when Hosmer returned.
However, Profar has pretty much been the Padres everyday left fielder since Pham’s injury, and after starting 3-for-37 in the first 11 games, the offseason acquisition has put together a .319/.370/.542 line with five home runs and 14 RBI over the last 24 games. His .912 OPS was good for a 145 OPS+ and 39 total bases.
He’s been a terrific bottom of the order guy, helping to get on-base ahead of Trent Grisham and Fernando Tatis Jr., which has been a major contributor as to why the Padres have been scoring so many runs. A closer look at his numbers reveals that he’s not doing anything special. In fact, he’s posting a career-low 22.1 percent hard-hit rate, but his 13.4 strikeout rate is among the top seven percent in the league.
Pure and simple, he’s a contact hitter who’s seeing approximately 4.24 pitches per plate appearance. Entering play on Thursday, Profar’s average sat at an unimpressive .239, but we forget how much of a hole he was in those first two weeks.
In comparison to his breakout year in 2018, here’s a quick snapshot of his StatCast statistics side-by-side with the 2020 numbers in bold.
- Barrel Percentage: 5.0% vs. 4.2%
- Exit Velocity: 87.3 MPH vs. 87.1 MPH
- Launch Angle: 12.4 degrees vs. 14.7 degrees
- Sweet Spot: 33.6 percent vs. 34.7 percent
- Fastball Average: .265 vs. .283
- Breaking Ball Average: .254 vs. .200
- Offspeed Average: .222 vs. .167
Profar is utilizing all parts of the field quite well, and balls are landing in for hits. It’s amazing to think that if the league had begun on time, there was a small chance that the Padres cut him to shed his salary because of the reported concerns about his throwing ability at second. He’s had a positive influence on this team, and it’ll be interesting to see if the team wants him back in the offseason.
It’s a small sample size to go off of in this shortened season, but it’s still an impressive turnaround for Profar, nonetheless.