It took many, many years, but Jurickson Profar finally enjoyed a breakout year in his first full season in 2018. While he regressed this past season, that was entirely due to a plummeting BABIP, which we would expect to rebound somewhat, just because no Major League hitter really has a true talent BABIP that low. But there’s now another wrinkle in his quest to return his BABIP to a normal level. Back on December 2, he was traded to the Padres, which would result in him playing for his third team in three years. Will the park switch affect his chances of a BABIP rebound, or perhaps boost those chances? How about the rest of his performance? Let’s check the 2018 park factors.
|Oakland Coliseum (Athletics)||98||101||109||93||98||99||100||100||100||101||97|
|Petco Park (Padres)||99||100||92||95||100||102||101||98||102||98||97|
*Hit type park factors were adjusted given Profar’s switch-hitting, using a 72.5/27.5 lefty/righty factor split, based on his career average.
Man, can you get any closer when comparing factors for two parks?!
The singles park factors has a great effect on BABIP simply because it’s the most frequent hit type. We find here that both parks suppress singles ever so slightly, with Petco doing so marginally less. Similarly, doubles factors are almost identical, with Oakland Coliseum barely boosting them, while Petco is right at neutral. Profar has hit 11 triples throughout his career, so that factor isn’t meaningless, but the rarest hit type factor isn’t going to move the needle much. Oakland Coliseum is one of the best triples parks and Petco is one of the worst, for what that’s worth.
As fantasy owners, we care much more about the home run park factors. But we see here again that the factors are very similar. Both are serious pitcher friendly venues, but Petco is slightly more hitter hitter friendly than Oakland. Profar has managed a low teen HR/FB rate in his first two full seasons, even boosting it this season despite moving out of a home run friendly venue and into a more difficult environment. As such, the park switch by itself shouldn’t have much of an effect on his home run output, with only a minor positive effect.
Oakland Coliseum slightly suppressed strikeouts, while Petco was neutral, while the former just barely reduced walks, while the latter boosted them slightly. Profar has showcased pretty solid plate discipline, posting above average walk rates, paired with strong strikeout rates in the mid-teens. That combination gives him ample upside, so it’s up to him to make the most of his balls in play and times on base.
The combination of a slight line drive boosting, plus a slight infield fly ball suppression effect makes Petco marginally more favorable for batted ball type distribution. Combine that with the slightly better singles factor, and you get a slightly better BABIP environment. Hey, Profar will take anything he could get to help that sad BABIP!
Overall, the Basic factor suggests that the parks are identical for overall offense. However, given the slightly better BABIP-related and home run factors in Petco versus Oakland, I would say that the park switch was a very positive. Not a very dramatic positive, but a positive nonetheless. He certainly could have landed in a park with a much more dramatic swing in factors that would really boost his value, but this isn’t one of them.
With serious risk of being buried at the bottom of the lineup in front of the pitcher, I don’t think there will be a big rebound in fantasy value, even if his batting average gets back into the .250 range. If he does find his way to the top of the lineup, then he becomes intriguing again.
Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.