Two of the most heralded prospects in recent memory — Jurickson Profar of the Rangers and Dylan Bundy of the Orioles, both just 22 years of age — are set to participate in the Arizona Fall League after long injury layoffs, according to team announcements.
The news had long been expected for Profar, who was named to the roster already. But he’ll now be activated for the first time, meaning he is no longer on the 60-day DL and will take up a roster spot. Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reported on Bundy yesterday, explaining that the Orioles want him to see some live action before the spring. Per the team announcement, he’ll take the AFL spot of righty Jon Keller.
Profar did manage a brief rehab stint in the minors already this year, marking his first game action since 2013. He’ll continue to serve as a DH in the AFL as he works to reacclimate his bat even as he continues to get his oft-injured right shoulder in shape for duty in the field. Profar debuted with Texas way back in 2012, when he was just 19 years of age. He owns only a .231/.301/.343 slash in 341 big league plate appearances, but he took all of those in or before his age-20 season.
It’s not yet clear whether and how Profar will factor into the Rangers’ plans for 2015, but he seems on track to do so. Texas still has Elvis Andrus embedded at shortstop and figures to continue utilizing the promising Rougned Odor at second. While an eventual replacement or contributor at short could make sense, it’s far from clear whether Profar will ever again be able to handle the demands of throwing from that position.
Bundy, meanwhile, also debuted in 2012 and has yet to return to the big leagues after suffering a variety of arm ailments. He has made it back for rehab stints in each of the last two seasons, but both times has been shut down after relatively limited action. He was not originally a part of Baltimore’s AFL plans, but will be moved into the competitive league after showing sufficient progress.
This is an important winter for Bundy and the O’s, as he’s out of options for 2016. That means that Baltimore will need to keep its former top prospect on the major league roster out of camp or risk losing him on waivers. While he’s most valued as a future starter, Bundy will obviously need to build back his innings and could feature as a reliever in the near-term.