When Dylan Bundy was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles, he was touted as a future ace. Now, he’s finally poised to fulfill that potential, and 2017 could be the year he does that.
Dylan Bundy was picked fourth overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2011 draft, and essentially from that moment on, he was touted as a future ace for the team.
I mean, if you just watch him pitch, you can see how talented he is. He throws a four and two-seam fastball, a cut fastball (sometimes), a curveball, and a changeup, and he throws them all exceptionally well.
Not only are the pitches themselves great pitches, but Bundy has excellent command of his pitches, especially given the speed and movement of those pitches. He has a very fluid delivery with smooth mechanics and is able to spot his pitches with precision.
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Since he was drafted however, Bundy’s career has been marred by injury after injury. From Tommy John surgery, to a calcification in his shoulder, to lat strains, to just simple elbow soreness; he’s just had problem after problem.
Last season, he finally pitched a solid number of innings for the Baltimore Orioles (some would argue too many), throwing 109.2 innings. Before last season, he had never thrown more than 57 innings in any one year.
Now, you may look at his stats from last year, his 4.02 ERA, 4.70 FIP, and 1.38 WHIP and say, “How is he a future ace right now?” But there’s more to Bundy’s year last year than the numbers. Yes, he struggled at times, but at other times, he was brilliant.
Like this gorgeous fastball, for example (courtesy of Pitcherlist):
Bundy has also made some major adjustments. Specifically, he learned from his injuries, rather than risk repeating his mistakes. He figured out that he shouldn’t bring his wrist up as high as he did behind him when he brought up the ball, so he cut that out and, as a result, his arm path improved.
Bundy did struggle last year though, and much of that was due to, as we wrote about, his poor numbers once he hit the third time through the order. This was partially due to stamina issues, and partially due to, I believe, a limited repitoire that should be helped by the fact that he’s finally bringing back his cutter this season.
So yes, Bundy did struggle some, but his K/BB ratio was solid, his chase rate was above average, and his whiff rate was excellent. This was his first look at the major leagues, and all things considered, he performed pretty well.
Bundy will have the opportunity to start, no doubt, mostly because the Baltimore Orioles pitching staff was bottom-third in the league with a miserable 4.51 ERA, so there’s really no reason for them not to use Bundy.
Do I think Bundy will all of a sudden be a total ace this year? Not necessarily. But I think he could take a major step forward to being the top-of-the-rotation starter that the Orioles drafted him to be and that the fans want him to be. He’s got the skills, he’s got the opportunity, as long as he stays healthy, I think it could happen.