Jurickson Profar making strong impression with Rockies

April 7th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding’s Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

DENVER -- New Rockies left fielder introduced himself to his new fans at Coors Field during Thursday afternoon’s 1-0 victory over zthe Nationals in the home opener.

He even reached out and touched one of them.

Profar’s first impression was a leaping catch at the warning track of a drive by that carried the way balls often do at Coors. As he leaped for the ball that looked to be falling shy of the fence, a well-meaning and excited young fan reached over. Their gloves touched, but Profar hung on.

One would say he was able to smile about it. But since signing a one-year contract late in Spring Training, joining the team for the final game of the season-opening series, Profar, 30, has worn an easy smile. And the smile beamed after two other impressive catches. A dive to rob Luis Garcia in the second had winning pitcher comparing him to Superman, and he ranged to the left-center gap to take a hit from Garcia.

Three catches, the same big smile.

“All of them,” Profar said, when asked to identify his favorite grab. “Being able to help Kyle and the team get the ‘W’ on defense feels good. Anything I can do to help the team win.”

With an abbreviated preparation -- he signed after playing for The Netherlands during the World Baseball Classic but went through a lengthy (yet common) visa process -- Profar has gone 2-for-15. But after his 111 OPS+ (100) is MLB average last year with the Padres, the Rockies expect the bat to arrive.

They’re happy to see the defense already. No one is happier than , who felt miscast in Coors’ spacious left field last year and has moved to a tighter right field. 

“That’s a big area out there,” Bryant said. “He played here a little bit as a visitor, so he understands how big it is. Any time you can get a ball in the gap there -- he made a couple diving catches, and I’m sure both [of] those hitters thought those were hits -- it definitely lifts the team up in that moment.”