Jurickson Profar is one of those players that’s instrumental to a clubhouse. He is known for smiling all of the time and just seems to have an infectious personality. However, he still doesn’t provide a whole lot of value offensively in terms of run production and power. It showed in 2021.
Let’s first go back to his first season in a Padres uniform. 2020 was obviously a shortened season and Profar took advantage of it, as he parlayed a 1.3 WAR season into a three-year, $21 million deal with San Diego. At the time, I thought it was a pretty nice deal for the Padres because of Profar’s positional versatility and the fact that he could fill in for Tommy Pham and Eric Hosmer in left field and at first base, respectively. He also had experience playing at second base prior to signing his three-year deal.
However, the deal didn’t make as much sense when A.J. Preller signed Ha-seong Kim to a four-year, $28 million contract. Kim is also a versatile player, which essentially took away some pinch-hitting situations for Profar as well as the possibility of Profar playing second base. It also meant the Padres were committing a combined $14 million a year to two bench players.
Profar ended up playing in 137 games in 2021 but saw his offensive numbers decline significantly compared to 2020. He saw decreases in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and home runs (despite having double the at-bats this year compared to last year).
With that said, one of the positives for having Profar is that he will never not have a competitive at-bat. That’s a trait some other players on the team don’t have at times. In 2021, Profar made contact on 71.9% of pitches that he swung out that were outside of the strike zone (O-contact %). In other words, he was able to spoil a lot of pitches that the home plate umpire was probably giving to the pitcher that game.
Profar, 28, is under contract for the next two seasons with a mutual option for 2024. Perhaps his contract will look better if he plays more outfield and first base next season with the possible departures of Hosmer, Pham, and Wil Myers.