Right now you’d have to look real hard to find some concern about Orioles 2011 first-round draft pick Dylan Bundy. And you still may not find a thing. The scouts have raved about him since the O’s drafted him and right now he’s in major league camp clearly living up to the hype at this point.
None of this will help him get an out once the minor league season starts in April and he has yet to throw one professional pitch, but if you doubt Bundy’s talent and potential at this point you’ll have a hard time finding anyone that shares your view.
If you want to totally nitpick here, you could express a concern about Bundy’s strong upper body. There are scouts through the years that feel some pitchers can get too muscle-bound and it can impact the fluidity they need for a smooth delivery.
But Jim Callis of Baseball America told me recently he doesn’t see that as a concern at all when it comes to Bundy.
“I mean, in general, you prefer a pitcher to be looser rather than muscle-bound. I think he’s both,” Callis said. “He’s muscular but no one ever talks about him being stiff or lacking fluidity or not having a loose arm. He’s just a very unique guy.
“I don’t think you’d hold this against him, but you’d wish a pitcher was a little taller than Dylan is, but nobody seems to hold the fact he’s about six feet tall against him. I’ve never heard any of the great high school pitchers - whether it’s Taillon, Josh Beckett or Matt White - be talked about as being as advanced as this kid. He’s similar to a college pitcher.
“I don’t think anyone has any complains about how loose his arm is and expressed that concern. I haven’t talked to anyone that thinks that is a concern.”
On another topic involving Orioles prospects, Callis is of the opinion Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop should both play shortstop this season on different clubs. In the second half of last season, the duo played together as a double-play combo at Single-A Frederick with Machado at short and Schoop at second base.
“You are talking a new regime now, but I would want to see if they are both shortstops. I’m not sold that Manny is definitely a shortstop five years from now,” Callis said. “I don’t think it’s terrible (to keep them together). It could be they don’t think Schoop is going to stay at shortstop because he is probably a tick below average runner and you don’t see too many of those guys stay at shortstop.
“But if the decision is he’s not a shortstop, then I would put him wherever he fits. But if you think Machado is ready for Double-A, I would have Schoop open the season as my shortstop at High-A (Frederick). I’m not critical of that, it’s just the way I would do it. I would operate under the assumption I want to see what these guys can do at shortstop.”
Bundy was recently ranked as baseball’s 10th best prospect by Baseball America with Machado 11th and Schoop 82nd. In BA’s Prospect Handbook the Orioles were ranked 20th among all MLB teams for their farm system overall. Callis said the O’s would be closer to the bottom here were it not for having two players rated among the game’s elite prospects.
“Definitely. You can’t just say if they didn’t have Bundy and Machado. They earned those picks with their play over the last couple of years, but they do have prospects number 10 and 1,” Callis said. “The only other team with two prospects in the top ten is Texas with (Yu) Darvish and (Jurickson) Profar.
“The Orioles go all the way down to Schoop at number 82. There are eight of us that vote for this top 100. After the top 100, there were 102 other players that received votes and only one of those was an Oriole. That was Parker Bridwell and he got one vote from one person.
“There is a huge dropoff and after that you just have a bunch of question marks. LJ Hoes, now he’s an outfielder and can he hit enough as an outfielder? You have draft guys that haven’t played at all yet like Nicky Delmonico and Jason Esposito. You have Xavier Avery, a great athlete but there are an awful lot of question marks after the top two or three guys in the system.”
Some linkage worth checking out:
* Orioles fans and reporters have long since known that Luke Scott can speak his mind. But the quotes in this article were pretty strong, even for Scott. He said of Red Sox fans, “Just their arrogance. The fans come in and they take over the city. They’re ruthless. They’re vulgar. They cause trouble. They talk about your family. Swear at you. Who likes that?”
* From the “we’ll believe it when we see it,” department, the Yankees reportedly plan to reduce their payroll to let others teams have a chance soon.
* Major League Baseball is reportedly on the verge on finalizing the second wild card team for each league in the playoffs, as Buster Olney discusses here.
* As young catchers in MLB go, I rate Matt Wieters ahead of Toronto’s J.P. Arencibia, but can Wieters do this.