By Ben Gellman
The Crawdads have a prodigy at shortstop in 18-year-old Jurickson Profar. No shortstop in the South Atlantic League has turned more double plays, and no player in the league is younger (including Hagerstown’s much-hyped Bryce Harper). He’s batting .424 since May 16, and leads the team in homers after last night’s solo blast.
John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com gave high praise to Profar in a blog post yesterday, so he’s clearly catching some eyes. While Profar’s defense has drawn rave reviews in all quarters, it’s what he’s done at the plate this season that is so impressive.
Through his first 36 games, Profar is batting .279 with 36 hits. Of those 36 hits, 20 have been extra-base hits, powering Profar’s team-best .550 slugging percentage. That’s 55.55% of his hits going for extra bases. His isolated power (SLG-BA) is .271. How good is that? Well, only seven MLB players have a better ISO right now. None of them are middle infielders. Throughout MLB history dating back to 1871, only 13 seasons with an ISO above .271 have been turned in by a middle infielder. Six of those came from Alex Rodriguez, and 5 came from Ernie Banks. (The other two belong to Rico Petrocelli and Bill Hall.)
That gives you an idea of just how rare it is that Jurickson Profar is turning in so many extra-base hits. When he puts the bat on the ball, fans here in Hickory know extra bases are in the offing.