When the Colorado Rockies signed veteran left fielder Jurickson Profar late in spring training, the move came from a position of need.
Last season’s surprising rookie Sean Bouchard had suffered a ruptured bicep that would potentially shelve him for the entire season, and Randal Grichuk was recovering from a bilateral sports hernia surgery. Nolan Jones and Michael Toglia both struggled in spring training while Brenton Doyle wasn’t considered ready for MLB play.
Although Profar’s contract was expensive at $7.75 million plus incentives over one year, it made some sense for the Rockies to bring him in. He was coming off a solid season with the San Diego Padres, and he was vouched for by new hitting coach Hensley Muelens. Muelens had coached Profar for Team Kingdom of the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. In addition, the Rockies liked the fact that Profar could switch-hit and, hopefully, balance out the lineup.
As August comes to an end, however, it no longer makes sense for the Rockies to keep Jurickson Profar.
Giving Profar playing time prior to the August 1st trade deadline made some sense. There was hope that he could showcase enough to draw interest from potential suitors. The Rockies had a successful deadline, turning veterans on one year or expiring deals into pitching prospects. However, when the deadline passed and Profar was still with the team, there seemed no longer to be reason for him to have a regular presence in the lineup.
This is, of course, saying nothing about Jurickson Profar as a person. His positive attitude and infectious smile would be welcome in any clubhouse. However, his performance on the field does not appear to justify his playing time, or even him still being with the club. With -1.9 fWAR and -1.6 rWAR, 30-year-old Profar is one of the worst regular players in Major League Baseball as measured by wins above replacement. Despite that, he has played in 16 out of 20 games since the deadline and started 14 of them.
Profar has also been the Rockies’ primary starting left fielder this season with 89 appearances and 86 starts. Although he had some flashy plays early in the season, his defense in the outfield has been highly suspect. Profar’s -11 defensive runs saved places him as not only one of the worst outfielders in the league by that metric, but one of the worst defenders in the league overall. His -2.8 ultimate zone rating (UZR) is among the worst in the league per FanGraphs. Moreover, his -12 outs above average is tied for fourth worst in the league per MLB Statcast.
With a pair of outstanding rookies playing excellent outfield defense, the return of Charlie Blackmon, and Michael Toglia seeing more time in the outfield, there is simply no place on the grass for Profar at this point in the season.
He has admittedly seen less time in the outfield since the trade deadline, making eight starts as the designated hitter to six starts in left field. If he were hitting well, the Rockies could justify his regular appearances as the DH. Unfortunately, Profar is under-performing at the plate as well.
He is hitting just .237/.318/.366 this season. He owns the league’s seventh-worst OPS+ at 79 and sixth worst wRC+ at 73. On paper, some of his offense numbers stand out: He’s tied for the fifth-most home runs on the Rockies with eight and has drawn the second-most walks on the team at 45. However, those eight home runs only stand out on a team that has struggled with finding their power, and those 45 walks are below league average per 600 plate appearances.
Profar was praised for his ability to get on base early in the season and even strung together an impressive 37-game on-base streak, but his .318 on-base percentage is also below league average.
With Profar’s poor performance on both sides of the ball, his spot on the roster and frequent use in the starting lineup becomes even more frustrating.
The Rockies have a glut of outfield talent either on the big league roster or on the cusp of it. Sean Bouchard recovered much earlier than expected and could be called up to start in left in Profar’s place. Jimmy Herron has played well enough in Triple-A Albuquerque to consider calling up, and Cole Tucker is a switch hitter like Profar while being both younger and more positionally versatile. Hunter Goodman can play left field and has been tearing the cover off the ball at every level of the minor leagues. Add Michael Toglia—who has been playing more in the outfield—to the mix, especially when Kris Bryant is likely to be moved to first base if/when he returns this season. This outfield is simply too crowded.
As it stands, Profar has become a poor fit for the current roster, which is a young team getting younger. With his performance and limited roster spots, it might be time for his Rockies tenure to end.
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Skyler Messinger is a “front of the classroom type of guy” plus an interview with Stephen Rice | Purple Row
Our own Skyler Timmins wrote yesterday about a lesser known prospect making a big splash in Low-A Fresno: local product Skyler Messinger. He also sat down for an interview with Stephen Rice, the voice of the Fresno Grizzlies. Please take a look and listen!
Despite going 3-for-4 with a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, Rockies catcher Elias Díaz didn’t get to do much celebrating as the bullpen crumbled in the ninth and tenth innings. Díaz instead focused on picking up his closer Justin Lawrence after the blown save.
“We talk. I try to keep him positive. He has emotion now. But we’re going to try to find a way. We played a really good game tonight. He made a good pitch. They found the hole. There are a lot of closers in the big leagues and they have times like that. He’s going to be good.”
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On the Farm
Despite a bumpy bullpen day and two errors, the Isotopes managed to win their fourth game in a row as they hung 8 runs on 11 hits against the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Hunter Goodman continues to be scorching hot as he recorded a 3-for-3 night with a double while Aaron Schunk barrelled two triples and Coco Montes hit his 18th home run of the season.
The Yard Goats pitching staff held the Patriots to just two runs on five hits on a bullpen day. Seth Halvorsen made his Double-A debut by giving up a home run, but also striking out two batters. Austin Kitchen and Nick Kuzia combined to strike out four batters over a hitless final three frames.
The Indians pitching staff threw a combined no-hitter against Vancouver, their first since 2014. Anderson Pilar was excellent through seven innings in which he struck out 13 batters while walking three. Brayan Castillo finished the job over the last two innings to clinch the no-hitter. Robby Martin Jr. and Jesus Ordoñez both hit home runs.
Anderson Pilar was having a legendary night even before Spokane polished off the no-hitter. His final line against the Canadians this evening: 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 13 K. #GoSpo— Spokane Indians (@spokaneindians) August 24, 2023
The Grizzlies played a complete game against the Ports. The pitching staff held them to just one run, anchored by a strong start from Michael Prosecky. Prosecky pitched for five shutout innings while striking out six batters and allowing just one hit. The Grizzlies scored seven runs on nine hits, with Dyan Jorge as offensive MVP. Jorge went 4-for-5 and drove in three runs. Cole Carigg was hitless but plated two runs of his own.
A Wednesday Win for the Grizzlies! @michaelprosecky tossed 5 scoreless innings, allowing an infield single while punching out 6! In Prosecky's last 7 starts: 6-1 with a 0.72 ERA! ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/vO1OdozeeM— Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) August 24, 2023
★ ★ ★
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