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September 19, 2012

BP Unfiltered

The Call-Up: Dylan Bundy

by Hudson Belinsky

The situation: The Orioles used seven relievers to throw 181 pitches in their 18-inning victory on Tuesday night. Bundy, who was slated for a few weeks of instructional league, was already on the 40-man roster, and makes the most sense for the 2012 Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen.

Background: Bundy was the 4th player off the board in the 2011 draft, and seen by many as the best talent available in the entire class. The O’s inked the 19-year-old to a Major League contract north of $6 million, setting him up for a quick rise through the system. Bundy began his minor league career with Low-A Delmarva, where he struck out 40 batters, walked two, and didn’t allow a single run in 30 innings. The Orioles slowly built up Bundy’s workload as they moved him up the ladder. A mid-season promotion to High-A Frederick presented a challenge, but the Oklahoma native rose to the occasion, this time fanning 66 and walking 18 in 57 innings, prompting another promotion, this time to Double-A. When I wrote about Bundy a few weeks ago, he was pitching well in Double-A and multiple evaluators believed he could get big leaguers out right now.

What he can do: He has a classic power pitcher’s repertoire, with the ability to slice fastballs through the zone in the upper-90s, often touching 100. Bundy also uses an advanced changeup and a sharp 12-to-6 curveball, both of which have the makings of plus pitches. Pitchers often see a tick up in their velocity when relegated to relief roles, so we could see Bundy tap into triple digits more consistently over the next few weeks, depending upon Baltimore’s plan.

Immediate big league future: Just over a year removed from high school, Bundy is ready to get outs in the majors. As an extra reliever in a strong bullpen, it’s not entirely clear what the O’s will do with him in the next several days. A debut tonight and some innings over the next few days would make sense because of the depleted pen. Against batters who have never seen him, and probably won’t get to see him multiple times, I expect Bundy to replicate his minor league performance in Baltimore over the next few weeks.

Long-term: There isn’t a lot of development left for Bundy. He needs to be more consistent with his pitches, but that should come as he picks up more innings. The makings of a top-of-the-rotation arm are there, but he is not without flaws. Evaluators don’t love that he’s a generous 6 feet tall, and he has slight back shoulder lean in his delivery. His strengths do, however, far outweigh his weaknesses. With a possible trio of pitches that includes an 80 fastball, and 60 (or better) changeup and curveballs, along with plus-plus command and control, Bundy could be a monster. There is room for error, but, overall, he’s an outstanding prospect and could start an All Star game a few years from now. 

Related Content:  Dylan Bundy

11 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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MattWinks

If for some reason either the Orioles give him the cutter back or he "accidentally" throws one, what would you grade out the cutter right now?

Sep 19, 2012 08:27 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I've seen it a few times; its a 7 pitch.

Sep 19, 2012 08:46 AM
 
BayCityM

Any precedent for an MLB team taking away a plus-plus pitch from a pitcher at the highest level?

Sep 19, 2012 09:53 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I'm not on the developmental staff, so I can't speak to the exact reasons why the Orioles removed the pitch from the arsenal. My viewing is a small sample size, and the team always knows more than the outside observer. Even without the cutter, Bundy can offer multiple FB looks, changing speeds and showing different movements. His changeup is a future 7 pitch, and the CB has a chance to get to that point as well. He can repeat his delivery, so his command profile is good, and he's an intense competitor with tons of makeup, so he should be able to handle the demands of the level. I think he's going to be very good. I also think the cutter rejoins the arsenal at some point in his early career, but that's just an opinion.

Sep 19, 2012 09:59 AM
 
BP staff member Hudson Belinsky
BP staff

The Orioles fundamentally don't believe in the cutter for young pitchers because they feel it has a significantly negative impact on fastball velocity. In my opinion, there's no way for prognosticators like us to study this further; team officials are the only ones who have access to velocity readings from every pitch that a player throws.

According to one of my sources for the Prospect Profile on Bundy, there is an obvious effect on fastball velocity - specifically with young players.

The Orioles weren't in love with the cutter in Spring Training, so they decided to table it for now. There are several pitchers who began their big league careers without throwing cutters that later added or brought back the pitch. Roy Halladay comes to mind. I'm not sure we've seen the end of Bundy's.

Sep 19, 2012 10:47 AM
 
jalee121

Are the Orioles the only MLB team that are against the cutter, to your knowledge Jason? I ask because a team like the White Sox, and specifically Don Cooper, have made some average pitchers have good seasons by adding the cutter.

Not saying one side is right and the other is wrong, by the way.

Sep 19, 2012 10:03 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

See the quotes by Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland about Luke Hochevar's cutter usage in my article today--I don't know if any other organizations have a blanket anti-cutter policy, but I think some teams or coaches prefer that pitchers use it in moderation.

Sep 19, 2012 10:09 AM
 
MattWinks

I remember reading somewhere that cutting back on cutter usage was something that Kyle Kendrick was doing right as he started to go on his current run of good pitching performances.

Sep 19, 2012 10:35 AM
rating: 0
 
timber

Can we get a "Call-Up" on Jake Odorizzi?

Sep 19, 2012 13:24 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

You can.

Sep 21, 2012 11:03 AM
 
MaineSkin

The kid has an insane work ethic and is a student of the game, so is a floor of a #2 very easily stated? TB signed Moore last year to an insane francjise friendly contract, so 1) how did TB talk Moore into the contract and 2) is this something other teams should persist.

Sep 19, 2012 15:41 PM
rating: 0
 
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Western Front: Chase H... (09/18)
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