When Dylan Bundy makes his much-anticipated second pro start tonight at Kannapolis, N.C., he will likely pitch three innings again as he did last Friday at Asheville, N.C., in his pro and South Atlantic League debut.
Bundy made a stunning first impression in that game, retiring all nine batters he faced and recording six strikeouts in what was about a 45-pitch outing. He touched 97 and 98 mph with his fastball but mostly pitched in the 94-95 mph range with that pitch.
Bundy may stay in the three-inning range for some of these early starts. The Orioles certainly have a plan in mind for him for this season in terms of when they might move him to a higher level, but they are not letting on about just what that is right now.
As one member of the organization explained to me this week, they are looking at more than just performance from Bundy right now. They know he has quality pitches that can overmatch hitters in that league at times, but they also want to see how me makes adjustments during games and they just want him to get used to the routine of being a pro pitcher.
As Dan Duquette has said, it’s about the process right now for Bundy to get comfortable with the pro game as much as it is about where he does that. The Orioles seem very open to moving him to a higher level and we should likely see that during this year, it’s just a matter of when.
There is a checklist of things they look at with any of their young players and when they can pass those tests, so to speak, they start thinking about promoting the player. It is not all about the stats, but he sure posted some impressive ones Friday.
Also, it appears that Single-A Delmarva will continue for at least a while with the six-man rotation it is currently using with Tim Berry, Parker Bridwell, Tyler Wilson, Eduardo Rodrigez and Miguel Chalas pitching after Bundy.
Another reason to go with a six-man is that some of the young pitchers for the Shorebirds, like Bundy, have definite innings limits for the season, with Bridwell likely to throw about 130-140 and Berry and Chalas’ innings to be closely monitored as well.
Meanwhile, the Orioles’ extended spring training season is under way for the players in Florida that are not currently playing for one of the full-season affiliates.
The Orioles are also holding a full extended spring training this year in the Dominican Republic with 52 players starting there on April 15.
I’m told the Orioles will be heavily evaluating players in both extended camps over the next few weeks and some of them will be moving later to full-season affiliates.
There very well could still be several minor league players released from the organization over the season’s first few weeks and some of the rosters could still undergo some shuffling during the early weeks of the season.
For more Bundy:
*Here is the story with some play-by-play audio from his first start.
*Here is Fangraphs’ take on that outing with some video highlights.
*Here is Bundy talking recently at Shorebirds media day.