Profar named baseball's top prospect

Rangers shortstop beats out Bundy, Taveras for No. 1 ranking

By Ashley Marshall / Special to | January 29, 2013 6:16 PM ET

Following a season that saw him tear up the Texas League and homer in his first Major League at-bat, Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar begins 2013 as baseball's top prospect.

The 19-year-old switch-hitter took the top spot ahead of Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy and Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras when the Top 100 Prospects were revealed live on MLB Network on Tuesday evening.

Rays farmhand Wil Myers is fourth overall, followed by Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker and new Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud sixth. Pitchers Jose Fernandez (Marlins), Zack Wheeler (Mets), Gerrit Cole (Pirates) and Tyler Skaggs (D-backs) round out the Top 10.

Each of the 30 big league clubs are represented in the Top 100, with the Rangers, Cardinals, Marlins, Twins and Red Sox each placing six prospects on the list. The Rays, Mariners, D-backs and Padres have five players apiece among the Top 100.

"It is a big honor being the No. 1 prospect," Profar told MLB Network by telephone. "Hitting a home run in my first at-bat, that is something you can never expect. It was great playing with the Rangers ... it was awesome."

Signed by the Rangers as a non-drafted free agent in 2009, Profar climbed to the top of the rankings after starting 2012 as baseball's No. 7 prospect and the second-best shortstop behind the Orioles' Manny Machado.

Mariners backstop Mike Zunino, ranked 23rd overall and second among catchers, was one of the prospects live tweeting the unveiling of the Top 100. He and Profar could face each other in the big leagues before the season is over.

Profar, a Texas League mid- and postseason All-Star who also played in the 2012 Futures Game, batted .281 with 14 homers and 62 RBI in 126 games with Double-A Frisco before earning a September callup when rosters expanded. The native of Curacao homered off Cleveland's Zach McAllister on the fourth pitch he saw in the Majors and went on to hit .176 with two RBIs in nine games with the Rangers.

Bundy also reached the Majors in 2012, despite starting the season with Class A Delmarva. In 23 starts across three Minor League levels, the 20-year-old went 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA. He recorded 119 strikeouts over 103 2/3 innings, holding opponents to a .186 average.

Ranked 10th overall a year ago, Bundy earned Carolina League midseason All-Star honors with Class A Advanced Frederick. In two relief appearances with the Orioles, he yielded a hit and a walk over 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

"I felt good throughout the whole year," Bundy told MLB Network. "I still had the zip on the fastball that I needed and I was throwing strikes and competing out there. [The Orioles] said they are going to let me throw a lot more than last year ... and I'm excited to move forward this year."

While Zunino set his sights on facing Profar, D-backs right-hander and No. 24 prospect Archie Bradley put his support behind Bundy.

In Taveras, the Cardinals have what some scouts consider to be the best pure hitter in the Minors. The 20-year-old outfielder has hit at every level throughout his career and many expect him to build on a breakout 2012 season.

After hitting .386 with eight homers and 62 RBIs with Class A Quad Cities in 2011, Taveras produced a 23-homer, 94-RBI performance with Double-A Springfield last season.

Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008, Taveras was named a Topps Double-A All-Star and also represented the World team at the Futures Game. He was named a Texas League mid- and postseason Texas League All-Star.

Among the Top 100 Prospects, 76 players came to the pro game via the Draft. Forty-two were first-rounders and 10 others were sandwich picks. Eight countries are represented by 24 international free agents.

Each of the top three prospects from last year's list -- Matt Moore, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout -- played prominent roles with their big league team in 2012. Braves right-hander Julio Teheran, ranked No. 4 last year, fell to No. 31, while Cards farmhand Shelby Miller dropped from fifth to 25th.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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