You hear both opinions often, but the Orioles seem to be sticking with their original plan. Some say that Dylan Bundy should have started the year at AA Bowie, while others think the Orioles should keep on their current track with slowly increasing his workload at a lower level.
Let’s remember, the kid is only 19 years old.
But after seeing Bundy pitch yesterday up in Hagerstown, against a Suns lineup that features a good amount of .300 hitters and a potent offense in the South Atlantic League, I have to take a midpoint between those views. While I like that Bundy started off with the Delmarva Shorebirds, it’s time for a change. He needs to be moved up to High-A Frederick.
The original goal, according to reports, was for Bundy to work on his offspeed offerings and really establish a fastball/changeup combo as well as get acclimated to the pro baseball lifestyle. He’s done all that has been asked of him. No earned runs and 40 strikeouts (along with only two walks and two hit by pitches) in 30 innings through eight starts is more than enough to prove to me that he has the ability to pitch at a higher level. Not that the Orioles or any scouts doubt his ability to perform, and I understand the original objectives, but they have been reached.
Bundy pitched five scoreless innings in Hagerstown yesterday, recording four strikeouts and only one hit allowed on all fastballs, minus three pitches. He threw a curveball for his second strikeout of the afternoon and two noticeable changeups in the middle of other counts, but otherwise, Bundy stuck to his heater. According to a source with the Shorebirds, he sat 94-98 with his fastball all afternoon and touched 99 on the last pitch of his outing, but otherwise only threw three total offspeed offerings all game.
Watching him on the mound, Bundy doesn’t have all that dominating of an appearance, but his fastball was blowing by batters. He has a Mark Buehrle-esque pace, which is ideal when hitters are so off balance to begin with, and the only contact being made was pure luck. Guys were honestly just swinging when they expected they would need to in order to make contact, and Bundy just had to throw the fastball to get guys out.
I still believe in the organization’s ambitions to keep Bundy at a good pace and not to rush things, but seeing Steve Melewski’s report yesterday where he quotes Rick Peterson, Orioles pitching coordinator, saying that Bundy may be close to a promotion, was a good step in my eyes. The team needs to put him in Frederick and let him air it out there. He should join other 2011 draft picks Mike Wright, Kyle Simon, and Trent Howard in the Keys’ rotation and work on his pitching there. Keep him on the same schedule and work on the same aspects of his game, but at least let him develop in a league where he can face competition closer to his level.
There is nothing left for Dylan Bundy to learn at Low-A ball.
Follow Avi Miller on Twitter @AviMillerBSR for up to the date Orioles news and daily farm system updates.