One big reason the Single-A Frederick Keys won the Carolina League championship this year was solid pitching. The Keys' team ERA of 3.22 was the best in the league.
Two of their better pitchers this year were 21-year-old right-handers Bobby Bundy and Clayton Schrader. Both put up big numbers for the Keys, but neither ended the year with Frederick. Bundy moved to Double-A Bowie in August and Schrader didn't pitch after July 25 due a right elbow flexor mass strain.
Frederick pitching coach Blaine Beatty, in an interview during the playoffs, provided a closer look at each pitcher
Bundy went 11-5 with an ERA of 2.75 in 20 starts for Frederick before pitching to an ERA of 9.60 in five games and 15 innings after moving to Bowie in early August.
Bundy finished tied for second in the Carolina League in wins, third in ERA and WHIP, and fourth in batting average against at .230. He was recently named by Baseball America as the 15th best prospect in the league.
"Bobby put it together, I felt like, before he left here," Beatty said. "He was having some issues getting under the ball and being up in the zone a bit and not being real consistent, but I felt like he got there. He was staying on top of the ball a lot better. Had that good downhill plane with that nice changeup going.
"I think at times, I felt like, he fell in love with his cutter too much. But it was good for him to go up to Double-A. He's a guy that will step up and figure it out at that level."
Beatty said this was the first year that Bundy threw a cut fastball.
"It was and he leaned on it a lot. But before he left here, the changeup was more of a prevelant pitch. I saw the balance kind of come into play a little better where he was using his changeup more than his cutter," he said.
Beatty gives Bundy, the Orioles' eighth-round pick in the 2008 draft, very high marks for his effort and work ethic.
"Tremendous work ethic and unbelievable athlete. He's dedicated to what he does. He's a leader. He kind of reminds me of Jake Arrieta by how he goes about doing things," Beatty said.
With Frederick, lefty batters hit .198 against Bundy and right-handers hit .250. He finished tied for first in the O's minor leagues with 12 wins and was fifth in strikeouts and sixth in ERA.
As you could probably figure, Beatty raves about Bundy's talent.
"His fastball is electric. He's 90 to 94, 95 (mph) at times. Good cutting action on the cutter. He's got a really nice 12 to 6 curveball. I'd like to see a little more tilt to it, but it's his out pitch when he gets it going," Beatty said
"This kid could really be something special. He's not there yet. I think when his stuff comes together, you are going to see some really good things from this kid. I think it's just making the adjustments to the (different) levels at this time. He's got some potential and upside and when that stuff comes together for him, and I hope it does for him, he's going to be something special."
Schrader was the O's 10th-round pick in 2010 out of San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College. This year, between Single-A Delmarva and Frederick, he went 2-2 with an ERA of 1.57.
His eye-opening stats also showed a batting average against of just .123 on the year as he gave up just 19 hits over 46 innings between both teams with 32 walks and 73 strikeouts.
"I like him a lot," Beatty said of Schrader, who went 1-1 with a 1.13 ERA at Frederick. "His delivery is a little different. He has a real, tall standup finish, doesn't have a good finish to his delivery but he has some deception with it. The big thing that he is going to have to accomplish next year is be able to go back-to-back days. We had to kind of watch him and protect him a little bit.
"Has some really electric stuff with good downhill plane. Solid curveball and slider and really good late explosion on his fastball. Has a nice changeup and I'd be curious to see him in a multiple-inning role. We stretched him out a couple of times and I'd like to see how his stuff plays."
Schrader averaged 14.3 strikeouts for every nine innings pitched this past year and Beatty said he simply blew away Carolina League hitters with 35 strikeouts and just eight hits allowed over 24 innings.
"He overmatched them here (in Frederick). He has plus stuff. An above-average fastball and two above-average breaking balls. When he gets them over, no one is going to hit him. The reaction times at this level, he just kind of overmatched them," Beatty said.
"He would throw 94 to 96 with some late life on his fastball. Has some late run to it. Just a competitor. He'd run through a brick wall to beat you, that's his makeup."