Monday, December 2, 2019

MLB Trade Review: Padres acquire Profar



          The San Diego Padres have acquired IF Jurickson Profar from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for C Austin Allen and a player to be named later.

           Profar was acquired by the A's last offseason in a three team trade from the Rangers after what was his best season in 2018. Profar, who was once the top prospect in all of baseball, always dealt with injuries and 2018 was his first 100 game MLB season. Profar had missed all of 2014 and 2015, and a portion of 2016 and 2017 prior to his breakout season. But in his one and only season in Oakland, things went wrong. Profar's batting average fell to .218 from .254. He had a .793 OPS in 2018, but that fell to .711 in 2019. Looking at those numbers, it seems that Profar really declined. But the Padres are looking past that number, and seeing that Profar was just unlucky. Profar hit 20 home runs in both 2018 and 2019. His walk rate increased by .2% and his strikeout rate decreased by .3%, both good things. Where Profar really fell in his batting average on balls in play (BABIP). Profar's BABIP was a very low .218, matching his normal batting average. League average for BABIP is normally around .300. Even in his breakout 2018, Profar had a low BABIP of .269. Profar's ISO was only 12 points lower (.192) in 2019 than in 2018 (.204). But Profar's main issue is that he does not hit the ball hard at all. His average exit velocity is in the 18th percentile among MLB hitters, and his hard hit % is even lower, in the 16th percentile. If Profar can hit the ball harder, he will be a much better hitter, but that could be said for everyone. In both 2018 and 2019, Profar attempted to steal a base 10 times. He was perfect in 2018, but was caught once in 2019. The Padres recently traded Luis Urias to the Brewers, opening up a second base spot. Veteran Ian Kinsler plays second base, but he had a terrible first season with the Padres. Profar now slots in as the starter.

             The deadline to tender a contract to a player is tonight at 8 pm ET. By trading Profar, it probably means that the A's were not going to tender Profar a contract, making him a free agent. The A's were reportedly shopping Profar, and now they finally found a trade partner. They get Allen, a catcher that just recently made his MLB debut, and a player to be named later. I would not bet on Allen sticking in Oakland long. He was not a ranked prospect in the Padres' system, and he won't be with the A's. He will already be 26 by Opening Day. In 34 MLB games, Allen went 14-for-65 with no home runs and a terrible .277 slugging percentage leading to a weak .559 OPS. If the A's don't make another catching move, Allen will compete for a backup catching job behind Josh Phegley. However, top catching prospect Sean Murphy is also one of the biggest catching prospects in the league, and he played in 20 MLB games last season. He is MLB ready. Allen could be Phegley's backup if Murphy starts in AAA. Besides Murphy, the A's have catchers Kyle McCann (18), Jonah Heim (21) and Drew Millas (23) in their top 30 prospects list by MLB Pipeline.

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