Dylan Bundy already knows the numbers. He’s seen them or had them recited to him. I wasn’t breaking news.
Bundy, a call-in guest last night on the “Orioles Hot Stove” show on 105.7 The Fan, managed a chuckle as I cited his issues with the longball. The career-high 41 home runs allowed that led the majors.
Let’s start there and slowly work our way toward the positive.
When I said that Bundy is likely to reflect on the home runs while examining areas that need improving, he replied, “Absolutely.” I was still in the middle of my question.
“The homers were probably the biggest issue,” he said. “Just getting the ball to the edge of the plate where I need it to be, especially with two strikes or ahead in the count. A lot of times I would try to make a pitch better than what it actually should have been and leave it right over the middle of the plate and it’s an easy home run, and it seemed like I did that quite a bit this year.
“Just need to be able to get that ball over the edge of the plate more, up in the zone where they can’t hit it.”
Bundy also was vulnerable to left-handed hitters, who posted a .319 average against him, compared to the .230 average from right-handers. Left-handers hit .261 against him in 2017 and .256 in 2016.
“I think it was the changeup,” Bundy said. “The changeup kind of went downhill last year, whereas in 2016 it was a lot better for me. Even in the first half in ‘17 the changeup was a decent pitch for me to kind of defend myself against left-handed hitters. Toward the end of ‘17 and then all year this year the changeup wasn’t working for me, especially to left-handed hitters, and you see I hardly threw it to right-handed hitters this year.
“I’m not sure if it was the spin on the pitch or just the location or what. From what I’ve heard, you could pick up the spin on it as a hitter, so obviously I need to address that and try to make that better.”
Bundy was 6-9 with a 4.35 ERA, 1.306 WHIP and .252 average against in the first half and 2-7 with a 7.11 ERA, 1.566 WHIP and .306 average against after the break. A sprained ankle on June 23 forced him onto the disabled list and brought constant questions about its impact as he kept struggling.
The world may never know.
“I’ve tried to look at it, some video and stuff like that, and I really can’t find any mechanical thing that has changed from the pre-baserunning injury and after,” he said. “So I’m not really sure if that injury had an effect or not, but obviously the numbers say it did. Something went wrong after that injury and I wasn’t able to correct it.”
Not wanting to come across as a total downer, I pointed out how Bundy registered a 2.07 ERA and 0.934 WHIP in nine day games and opponents batted .183/.248/.324 against him.
“Yeah, I heard that one, too,” he said. “I was trying to figure out why I didn’t pitch more day games in the second half.”
Bundy said he has “no clue” why he dealt in the daylight.
“Some people, it’s hard to get up in the morning and for me, it’s kind of a mindset thing,” he said. “I like to just get up and know that I have a job to do that day and get my mind right for that game.”
In six starts with rookie Chance Sisco behind the plate, Bundy registered his lowest ERA (2.36) and average against (.192), compared to 20 games with Caleb Joseph (6.09, .302) and five with rookie Austin Wynns (7.48, .283).
“I can’t really put a finger on it, either,” he said. “I’ve heard that number before and I don’t know if it’s because I threw more sliders or what. I’m not sure why that is.”
Bundy and his teammates will have a new manager and perhaps a new pitching coach. Mike Elias already is on board as the new head of baseball operations.
“There’s a lot going on,” he said. “We kind of saw it coming toward the end of the year and then it all happened, so I’m just excited to see what happens with who we hire and who we put into certain positions. All I’ve ever known was Buck (Showalter) and Dan (Duquette), so it will be interesting.
“I’m excited to work with Mike once spring training starts.”
The Orioles also will be working with Sig Mejdal, hired as assistant general manager to oversee all aspects of the club’s growing analytics effort.
“For me, I don’t really know if we’ve really used them too much, but you hear about it all around baseball,” Bundy said. “That’s the way the game is kind of going is analytical, so I’m excited for it, to see what it can do for me. I look forward to using some of the info we get now.”
Bundy admitted that it became more difficult at times to focus and block out the distractions as key players were moved at the non-waiver deadline and other changes grew more likely. Players were braced for a teardown back in spring training, knowing that a bad start would cause the window of contention to finally slam shut.
“Yeah, you could say that sometimes,” Bundy said, “but every five days it’s your job to go out there and pitch. That’s really what my main focus was on. Doing my work between starts and giving my team the best chance to win.”