Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Bundy transitioning from thrower to pitcher

Apr 26, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy (37) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 26, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy (37) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Orioles are an American League leading 14-6 after 20 games, and a lot of that is thanks to their starting pitching.

Every year, the Baltimore Orioles starting pitching is supposed to hold them back. It isn’t supposed to be good enough.

No one gave a lot of respect to this year’s starting staff. Sure, Wade Miley and Ubaldo Jimenez are former All-Stars, but that was five plus years ago, and they are now in the AL East, said the pundits.

And, the consensus was that Chris Tillman‘s injury would linger.

More from Baltimore Orioles

Most of the pundits also didn’t know whether Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy could make the jump to be top of the rotation starters.

Well, the Baltimore Orioles are almost through April, and they look good. They have got great pitching from Miley, Jimenez has kept the team in games, and Tillman should be back soon.

Gausman, however, has been the Orioles’ worst pitcher. Starting, bullpen, worst pitcher. In fact, you could argue he has been one of the worst in the American League, as he has allowed more runs than any other starter, and is tied for most walks allowed.

Not what many Oriole fans expected.

But, that’s not what we are here to talk about today. We are here to talk about Bundy.

Through five starts, Bundy is 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA in 32.2 IP. Bundy has allowed 26 hits, six walks; six earned runs and two home runs (both solo HRs by Tim Beckham Wednesday night.)

Bundy has quality starts in all five of his starts. He has thrown six innings or more in each, and seven innings in two of his starts. He also has thrown 99 or more pitches in every start.

Many Oriole fans get concerned about Bundy at the slightest hint of concern. And, this is entirely understandable. Bundy is a top pick who has suffered through Tommy John surgery.

So, when his fastball was only hitting the upper 80s Wednesday evening, Orioles Twitter was up in arms.

After the game, Bundy and Buck worked to put those fears to rest.

First, from his skipper, courtesy of Roch Kubatko:

"“He went and got it a couple times tonight. Sure, I see it. And we talk to him. He’s had great work days. He’s evolved into, I don’t want to say he paces himself, but he’s so much more of a pitcher. I thought this was one of his better outings considering he needed all of his weapons tonight to get through that. Early on, he was really struggling to get the ball where he wanted to get it.“It is something you notice because you have a history with guys. Keep in mind when he started last year it was after the All-Star Break and he didn’t have any innings at all. I like to think he’s kind of pacing himself through this and knowing when to go get it and when not to. But it’s something we’re going to keep an eye on.”"

Now, from Bundy himself, from Steve Melewski:

"“I know there will be a lot of times I’ll go out there and I don’t have my best fastball,” Bundy said. “So, I mean, it’s hard as a major league starter to have your best stuff every single game for 30-some starts a year. As long as, like I said, (I pitched) six innings and kept the team in the game, I consider that doing my job.“I was probably getting loosened up more, moreso than that first and second inning. Because I did feel a little bit better, overall body in the third and fourth inning. I did notice more life on the ball at the end.”“A quality start is a quality start,” he said. “I’m not too worried about the numbers. I don’t think you guys need to be worried either. But, no, I’m mixing in more two-seamers this year, like I said in spring training. But overall, felt good when I left the game so I’m happy about it. Yeah, I think I used curveball more and my changeup more than I have in the past. And it worked out well tonight.”"

So, it looks like there is no real reason to be concerned.

There comes a time for all pitchers where they have to go from being someone who can throw the ball past everyone and be successful, and when they have to learn to be a pitcher. Even the best go through it, which is why pitching takes mental ability just as much as physical.

Bundy appears to have crossed that line from thrower to pitcher.

He also has the best WAR for pitchers in the AL, and third best overall (behind the injured Mitch Haniger of Seattle and, who else, Mike Trout.)

Next: Baltimore Ravens 2017 NFL Draft Picks

Dylan Bundy appears to be the ace they say the Baltimore Orioles need.