Jurickson Profar vs. Dylan Bundy: Who Is the More Electrifying Minor Leaguer?
Before publishing my Midseason Top 50 Prospects earlier this morning, I spent the last several days waging an inner war trying to justify my confidence in various prospects. For most prospects, there was little doubt that their respective rankings were based upon on their track record, tools and, most importantly, ultimate potential.
Therefore, the most difficult decision to make was choosing between Baltimore Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy and Texas Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar for my No. 1 overall prospect. While a strong case can be made for both players, as they’re arguably the two most electrifying and hyped prospects in the game, at the end of the day, the choice was clear: Profar.
Headed into the season, I ranked Profar as the No. 5 prospect in baseball behind Matt Moore, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Shelby Miller, respectively. Following closely behind him in the top-10 was Bundy, who entered the 2012 season as the No. 9 prospect despite never throwing a professional pitch.
As a 19-year-old playing his first season in Double-A, Profar has exceeded all expectations by posting an .856 OPS through 85 games. However, while his stats paint a clear picture of his success this season, it honestly doesn’t do the kid justice. As the youngest player in Double-A, Profar is excelling in a new and challenging environment, which, in my opinion, is one of the key ingredients in identifying a future superstar.
Not only is he hitting exceptionally well from both sides of the plate—.951 OPS from the right side, .817 OPS from the left—he’s exhibiting advanced plate discipline well beyond his years with 54 strikeouts and 43 walks in 85 games. And while most hitters young hitters are more comfortable hitting with the bases empty under minimal pressure, Profar has thrived with runners in scoring position this season, batting .304 with 31 RBI.
Basically, Profar is showing no real flaws in his ability as a hitter—a switch-hitter nonetheless.
At the same time, what Dylan Bundy has done this year in his first professional season is remarkable. With a three-pitch mix of above-average to plus offerings—without even throwing his best pitch, a cutter—Bundy emerged as a legend at Low-A Delmarva to open the season. The highly athletic, hard-throwing right-hander didn't allow an earned run over 30 innings and rarely allowed a base runner. Dominant doesn’t accurately convey just how well Bundy pitched; he allowed only five hits and two walks during that span while recording 40 strikeouts.
Although he hasn’t posted the video game-like numbers since a promotion to High-A in late May, his stuff is still exceptional and he’s making noticeable adjustments. In his outing on Saturday, Bundy fired five scoreless innings of two-hit baseball while fanning eight and walking only one. I know—classic Bundy.
The enormous upside of both prospects is already overly apparent, and to think that they still have considerable room for projection is frightening--and by frightening I clearly mean mind-blowing.
However, when deciding which player should garner No. 1 prospect honors in my midseason rankings, the fact that the 19-year-old Profar is already an advanced switch-hitter at a high minor-league level gave him the overall edge. Furthermore, he has both the athleticism and defensive tools to remain at shortstop for the duration of his career.
While Bundy will be challenged against more advanced hitters as he inevitably races through the Orioles’ system, Profar’s ability to make adjustments has yielded eye-opening results this season at Double-A. At times, he’s even appeared unchallenged, like he’s ready for something more.
The fact that Profar has the total package of a high offensive ceiling at a premium, up-the-middle position, as well as an admirable baseball IQ, makes him baseball’s clear-cut No. 1 prospect.
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