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January 30, 2014

Tale of the Tape

Jurickson Profar vs. Anthony Rendon

by Alex Kantecki


For the second-base edition of “Tale of the Tape,” I was given a choice between Jason Kipnis vs. Dustin Pedroia, Neil Walker vs. Martin Prado, and Anthony Rendon vs. Jurickson Profar. As the title gives away, I chose set no. 3, Rendon and Profar—a pair of former no. 1 prospects with All-Star potential. More than two years separate the second basemen in age, but both will enter the year ready to compete in their first full major-league seasons. In BP’s positional rankings, Craig Goldstein lists Rendon at the back end of the three-star tier and Profar checks in a few keystones later inside the two-star group. Can the two-star player outshine the three-star favorite?

Batting Average
To this point in their brief careers, Rendon and Profar have combined for fewer than 750 plate appearances, so small-sample-size goggles are required. As things stand, Rendon enjoys a comfortable .265-to-.231 lead, but Profar’s major-league clock also extends to a brief nine-game stint in 2012, when he struggled and hit .176. For what it’s worth, Profar out-hit Rendon with a .276 BA in four minor-league seasons, compared to Rendon’s .269 in two. We have obviously yet to see either player reach his full potential, but both have been graded with the tools to one day hit .300. Profar hasn’t adjusted as well to big-league pitching as Rendon, however, striking out 19.6 percent of the time (compared to about14 percent in the minors); Rendon’s strikeout rate is a cleaner 17.5 percent. And while both have fantastic contact rates, Rendon appears poised to hit for a better average in 2014. For Profar, the new season should help shed some light on his chances of fulfilling a grade-7 hit tool.

Advantage: Rendon

On-Base Percentage
Neither middle infielder has been particularly patient, both failing to top an eight percent walk rate at the big-league level. In other words, they’ve been league average. Rendon reached base at a .329 clip last season, compared to .308 for Profar. In the minors, Rendon reached base at an impressive .408 clip in two seasons, including a very strong 16.9 percent walk rate. His track record across four levels on the farm is good reason to trust his on-base skills at the next level. Plus, he’s always been lauded for his excellent pitch-recognition skills on scouting reports. On the flip side, while Profar’s minor-league numbers aren’t as pronounced, he’s also been praised for a strong awareness of the strike zone. He’s chased 6.5 percent more balls outside of the strike zone than Rendon, however, so I’m giving the slight edge to the National Leaguer.

Advantage: slightly to Rendon

Home Runs
If you took one look at Rendon and Profar, you’d probably guess that the former packed more punch. Both second basemen are listed at exactly six feet, but the National has 30 pounds on the Ranger (195 to 165). Profar and Rendon have equally smacked seven long balls at the major-league level, but the former has done so in 48 fewer at-bats. Both were graded with 5+ power tools, so the difference between the two is very small. Texas is the preferred park for power, whereas Nationals Park plays fairly neutral for right-handed hitters. Looking at their batted ball distances from a year ago, Rendon easily outslugged Profar, leading 276.96 (no. 182) to 260.83 (no. 271). Profar does have better minor-league power numbers, for what it’s worth, but neither player can claim a HR/FB rate of greater than 8.5 percent. This debate sure is confusing, and you can go back and forth all day. Rendon’s 2014 will be telling—can he start turning doubles into home runs? I think both can approach 13-15 dingers, but neither has gained a distinct advantage.

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Related Content:  Anthony Rendon,  Fantasy,  Jurickson Profar

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<< Previous Article
Overthinking It: Polli... (01/29)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Fred... (01/23)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: J.J.... (02/06)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Get to Know: Second Ba... (01/30)

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