Orioles preparing to send Dylan Bundy to instructional league

Orioles manager Buck Showalter indicated today that the Orioles will send pitcher Dylan Bundy to the fall instructional league once Double-A Bowie’s season ends, which apparently will keep the organization’s top prospect from making his major league debut in 2012.

Bundy, 19, has long been rumored as a September call-up at the latest, with the possibility of him working in relief or getting a start. He’s 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 23 combined starts with three affiliates, with 67 hits, 28 walks and 119 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings. Opponents are batting .186 against him.

Bundy, the fourth-overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three starts with Bowie, with 14 hits, seven runs (six earned), eight walks and 13 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings. Opponents are batting .230 against him.

Bundy walked four Erie batters in 5 1/3 innings last night.

“The instructional league starts on the 12th,” Showalter said. “What did he walk, four guys last night? There are some things... He’s at a level he’s being challenged at, just like he got challenged more at Frederick. I think the progression of his development has been great. Couldn’t ask for a better progression. I think we’re a little over 2 1/2 weeks for the instructional league to start. I know they’ve got some plans for him, some things he needs to work on there.”

As Yankees manager in 1995, Showalter let a young shortstop named Derek Jeter stay with the team in the postseason just so he could experience that environment. Has any thought be given to allowing Bundy to sit on the bench in September and perhaps beyond?

“There are some other things that happen if you do that,” Showalter said. “Frankly, what you have to ask yourself is, does he have a chance to be on your club to start the season next year? I think that kind of affects the way you look at it.

“Right now, I want him to pitch his butt off and help Bowie win an Eastern League championship. That’s where I want his mind set. And then when that’s over, look forward to work on some weaknesses down in the instructional league with some very good staff members. Instructional league is the best prospects you’ve got and the best instructors you’ve got. That’s the way it used to be and is this year with us. It used to be quite a feather to be asked to go instruct. It used to be something you never turned down. You want to skip a level next year? You better take your butt down to instructional league. If you don’t? That’s fine. Go on home. But keep the apartment in the city you’re in.

“We’re going to play games and they’re going to mean something. You’re going to play fives a week, a camp day and an off-day on Sunday, kind of a throwback instructional league the way they used to be, instead of these 10-day mini-camps.”

Asked what Bundy needs to work on, Showalter replied, “I’m not that close. I’d lean on the guys who had him in Delmarva, Frederick and Bowie. I know times to the plate from the stretch, holding runners. That’s something that’s been a little bit of a challenge for him. Command. As he’s gone up, it’s been a little bit more of a challenge for him. Four walks in Bowie are more walks up here.”

For the White Sox:
Dewayne Wise CF
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Adam Dunn DH
Paul Konerko 1B
Alex Rios RF
Dayan Viciedo LF
Alexei Ramirez SS
Tyler Flowers C
Gordon Beckham 2B

Dylan Axelrod RHP

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