People don't think much can go wrong with Dylan Bundy, but how about the rest of the top Orioles prospects?
Prospect #1: RHP Dylan Bundy
Background with Player: Industry sources
Who: The fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft, Bundy was seen by many, including Kevin Goldstein, as the best player available in the entire class, which, if you haven’t noticed, has a chance of being historically incredibl. Bundy is the rare high school draftee that arrives on the scene with a combination of now stuff and slick polish. The 19-year-old native of Oklahoma has elite upside, with all the characteristics necessary to profile as an ace. His body is strong and mature, and his delivery is clean and repeatable. His fastball can work comfortably in the mid-90s and has touched triple digits. It’s a lively offering that Bundy shows preternatural command over, not only in the ability to locate the pitch but to change speeds and vary the movement (2/4/cut). The curveball projects to be a plus offering, and those who have seen it in person rave about its shape. High school arms don’t usually enter professional ball with plus changeups for a reason, but Bundy already has a changeup that grades out at that level, and some think it could be a 7 pitch at maturity. It’s very uncommon to find a pitcher with this combination of stuff, polish, and pitchability, and barring an unforeseen injury, Bundy looks like a future ace at the major league level. How many arms can boast that ceiling? This is a special arm.
What Could Go Wrong in 2012: We don’t know yet. Not passing the buck, but we haven’t been given a long enough look so far in 2012; Bundy is pitching with too much efficiency and having too much success, and the sample size is too small to really get a good picture of what (if any) holes exist in the skill set. It’s hard to breakdown how he will use pitch sequence multiple times through an order, or how he will respond when he doesn’t have his best stuff, or how he will respond to failure because he’s only thrown 13 innings and has crushed the competition like a major leaguer on a rehab assignment. In those 13 innings, Bundy has dropped 21 hitters on strikes, walked one, and has allowed a grand total of zero hits. The reality is that Bundy might not face a serious test until he reaches Double-A, and even then the test might be an easy one for him to pass. I’m not trying to overhype just to overhype, but there are some people in the industry who think Bundy has the necessary ingredients to pitch at the major league level this season. I can appreciate the excitement, but the developmental process is more than just finding success at your particular minor league assignment, and Bundy still has a lot to learn as a pitcher and as a person. This is going to be fun to watch over the season, and, with more looks and more innings, we will be able to paint a better picture.