ESPN’s Keith Law Calls Orioles Handling Of Dylan Bundy “A Mistake”

We’re 2/3 of the way through April and the headlines are cheerful in Birdland.  The first place Baltimore Orioles are getting good pitching and some clutch performances at the plate.

Down on the farm, Manny Machado has shown flashes of greatness at Double-A Bowie and 19-year-old Dylan Bundy is embarrassing batters with the Shorebirds in Delmarva.

On Tuesday night, Bundy extended his hitless innings streak to 9.  He has now retired 27 of his first 28 batters faced in his pro career, struck out 15 and (obviously) hasn’t allowed a run.  So things are good, right?

Well, not according to ESPN.com’s Keith Law.

“Dylan Bundy should have started his professional career in Double-A, that’s a mistake by the Orioles,” Law said on his podcast, Baseball Today.  “It’s only be compounded by the fact that they are leaving him in Low-A, two levels below where he should be, and they’re not stretching him out.  He’s going three innings, that’s not a starter’s workload.”

Law said that Bundy should be turning Minor League lineups over twice.  “If you want to limit him and say he’s only going to go 15 to 18 batters per outing, I’m completely fine with that.”

“But I think they’re really babying him,” he added.

If he were calling the shots, Law would have started Bundy at Bowie to begin the 2012 season.  “I think they’ve dug a hole for themselves, it’s going to be hard for them to dig their way out of it because of where they chose to start him and how little they are actually using him.”

The Orioles have been criticized for rushing their young pitchers through the farm system too early in year’s past. Now it appears experts are being critical of them for being too cautious.

“We’ve got these excessively low pitch counts, even though there’s really no evidence that low pitch counts lead to fewer injuries,”  Law said.  “We know high pitch counts lead to more injuries, but we don’t know that the other is true.”

I’m certainly no expert in producing young arms, but if high pitch counts lead to more injuries, then don’t we know that low pitch counts don’t?

“My understanding is [that] the biggest risk of injury is when a pitcher is pitching tired, when his arm is already fatigued.  And, I don’t think that a particular starter is getting fatigued after pitch 50, he’s getting fatigued well after pitch 100.”

Personally, I’m happy to see the Orioles not rushing the guy.  This farm system needs to get to a place where they call on pitchers when they’ve earned a promotion, not when the team needs someone to eat six innings.  Keeping Bundy at Low-A at age 19 doesn’t seem like it’s as damaging as Law makes it out to be.  Given the option of overworking the kid, I’d rather see him throw three shutout innings in Delmarva than get burnt out.  But, that’s just me.

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and Host of the BSR Podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter @zamwi or send him an email: zach@baltimoresportsreport.com.

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and host of the BSR Podcast. He's a loyal Orioles, Ravens and Capitals fan who is obsessed with baseball, loves traveling, In-N-Out Burger and Walt Disney World.

13 Comments

  1. MGW

    April 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    This guy seems to be a can’t miss guy, let’s hope the Orioles handlers don’t screw him up.

  2. DShea

    April 18, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    The issue is you don’t learn a thing about pitching by playing against clearly overmatched, less talented hitters. You develop your skills by constantly challenging the best. Bundy’s learning nothing. That’s Law’s point, not the pitch count.

  3. 9inchnails

    April 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Keith Law knows as much about baseball as I know about women. Spy….verify?

    Bi.undy os learning about how to play baseball at the major l;eague level, D. As soon as the O’s rush him the way they rushed Big Ben, then all these would be know it alls, would be whining about that…verify Spy?

  4. Anthony

    April 19, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Well I guarantee Keith Law knows more about baseball than most of us, since that’s his job, and he’s worked in a front office. The guy’s primary focus is scouting and rating young players.

    With that said, I agree with most of what he is saying. I don’t necessarily feel like putting him in Bowie would be a good idea, but he should be in Frederick. And the fact that they’re only letting him go 3 innings, especially against that competition, is ridiculous. Law’s point about turning a lineup over is true. Many pitchers can make it through a lineup with relative ease the first time. It’s that second and third time through, when batters have already seen a pitcher, that is more of a challenge. If they want to leave him in Delmarva for a month or so, that’s fine. Just treat him like a starting pitcher and not a long reliever.

    • 9inchnails

      April 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      Anthony…my first husband was named Anthony. Thanks martin O’Malley!

      Becasue you work in a baseball front office “don’t mean $hit”! see Dan Duquette, see Mike RPI Flannagan, see Syd Thrift, see Andy McFail.
      Because you own a radio station “don’t mean $hit, see the Little Fella and NST

      Hell owning a ball team, “don’t mean $hit!” see Peter “Please Sell the Damn Team” Angelos, see Bob Drunk as Hell Irsay, see Georgia Getting Banged by Bert Jines Frontiere, see Abe Cant buy a Win Polin.
      Hell, even the greatest basketball player of all time, “don’t know shit, Michael Kwame Brown could be the next Lew Alcindor Jordan.
      Hell, I know people who write to this blog every day and don’t know $hit…verify Spy, Mark and Mystery Man. All 3 who have disappeared redcently….probably back in jail or those will work for food signs have worked…!

      • MGW

        April 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm

        Excellent point, Nails.

        • 9inchnails

          April 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm

          Thanks, my fellow BSRer!

  5. Al

    April 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Law also said Wieters was the biggest bust ever, or something like that, didn’t he?

  6. Anthony

    April 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    No, Law has always said that Wieters was not a bust and that with time, he’d get better…

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  8. MGW

    April 19, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    This is much ado about nothing. Let the kid gain confidence in low A then move him up. The season is plenty long enough.

  9. Ryan

    April 24, 2012 at 11:08 am

    When listening to Law remember, this is the guy who called Wieters a bust after one season.

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