It finally happened. An informed baseball mind said something negative about Dylan Bundy. On Episode 91 on the Baseball Prospectus: Up and In Podcast, Kevin Goldstein offered one of the first slightly negative insights into the Orioles 2011 first round draft pick.
Dylan Bundy, is the flavor of the month … the only nitpick I’ve ever gotten is that he opens up a little bit. And its total nitpicking, but you might not be crazy about what that does to shoulders and elbows.
It is important to note that Goldstein thinks very highly of: (1) the player Dylan Bundy is and (2) the player he can become. Goldstein ranked him as the #1 player in the 2011 Draft and has gushed over him in print at Baseball Prospectus and on the Up and In Podcast. The purpose of Goldstein’s comment was merely to relay the only negative thing he has heard about Bundy. Still, this is one of the first negative insights about Bundy and it deserves attention. Analysis after the jump.
So, what is “opening up”? According to this report from orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nicholas J. Honkamp: Proper pitching mechanics involves a pitcher remaining upright with his hand on top of the ball, and as his stride foot contacts the ground, his shoulder should be “closed” (facing 3rd base for a righty). “Opening up” ones shoulder (letting fly towards home and first) causes the transfer of energy from the legs to the arm to be concentrated on the front part of the shoulder and the inside of the elbow. This places the thrower at risk for shoulder and elbow injuries. The picture below shows the difference between a pitcher “opening up” vs. a pitcher staying “closed”.
Ultimately, this comment alone isn’t anything to lose any sleep over, but readers should keep it in the back of their minds. Many scouts describe Bundy as being “built like a linebacker”. Transferring some of the tremendous power he has in his lower half to his arm in an unsafe manner has the possibility to injure him. In short, the same tools that allow him to sit a 95-96 mph with his fastball invite the possibility of serious shoulder and elbow injuries. Young pitching breaks hearts and Dylan Bundy may be no exception.