After 14 starts this year, the Orioles remain extremely pleased with the season their top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy is having. The 19-year-old from Oklahoma, who has been limited to five-inning starts so far, will soon will be allowed to go deeper into games.
First, though, Bundy will take a small step back in his next start, which will come Wednesday at Potomac, when he will throw around four innings on a 60-pitch limit. That is so he can then pitch in the Futures Game three days later on Sunday, July 8.
Coming out of that, Bundy’s next outing is expected to be July 14. In that one and again six days later, he is expected to go five innings also. But then in a start that will likely come on or around July 26 - his third after the Futures Game - Bundy’s pitch limit will be bumped up to around 100 for the rest of the season and he will be able to pitch past five innings for the first time all year.
Bundy is 5-2 with a 1.53 ERA between Single-A Delmarva and Single-A Frederick. For now, Orioles director of pitching development Rick Peterson said, Bundy will remain in the Carolina League. Peterson said there are no current internal discussions about promoting Bundy past Frederick.
“There is no talk about it at all. There will become talk about it if he consistently starts to dominate,” Peterson said.
In a June 14 start against Lynchburg, Bundy gave up four runs in 3 2/3 innings. He followed that up by pitching five shutout innings on two hits against Myrtle Beach. Peterson saw that start in person and loved how Bundy rebounded from the previous outing.
“I believe all four runs he gave up were the result of high fastballs out over the plate. He’s at a level where guys can cheat to his fastball and have a chance to get to it,” Peterson said.
“I’m ecstatic because you would like to see how he does when he has a flat tire, so to speak. Are you going to sit in the car and complain about it or will you get out and change it? After that rough outing he had, he clearly saw that he had a spare in the trunk.
“It’s really important that he has the other pitches that he can sequence to control the head of the bat. Speed guys up, slow guys down. Get some early count outs, which he did that next start. He used his changeup exceptionally well. He got some swing and misses on it and got some really weak contact on it.”
Last night, Bundy went five innings, giving up one run on four hits at Winston-Salem. After pitching 30 innings where he gave up just five hits on two unearned runs with Delmarva, Bundy is now 4-2 with an ERA of 3.14 with Frederick. Over 28 2/3 innings, he has given up 24 hits with eight walks to 30 strikeouts.
“I was really, really pleased, not only how he performed physically, but how he’s handled all this mentally,” Peterson said.
He said that Bundy seemed to take a tick or two off his fastball in that game two starts ago, which led to better fastball control and command.
“I don’t think he consciously did that, but everyone will find a level of effort that they put into their pitches. A guy like (Justin) Verlander has better velocity at the end of the game when he gets into a rhythm,” Peterson said.
Peterson said he is very pleased with the mix of pitches Bundy has thrown in recent starts, as he is working in the right amount of offspeed pitches to work on them while also continuing to work on his fastball command.
“Every game is different,” Peterson said. “We have looked at percentages and printed that out for our guys in our (farm) system. I don’t think there is one pitcher in the big league that pitches with 70 percent fastballs, including Verlander. He has some games with 70 percent but also has had some games with 55 percent fastballs.
“He (Bundy) should be somewhere, at this level where he is now, he should be somewhere in that roughly 75 percent fastball range. He shouldn’t be 80 and probably not in the 60s.
“Right now, if you look at the criteria of developing young pitching, No. 1 is a consistent delivery that you can use to execute pitches. No. 2 is fastball command. No. 3 is develop a changeup. So somewhere around 15 percent for changeups. More is OK, but less is probably not for changeups. Lastly comes the development of the breaking ball.”
Between Delmarva and Frederick this year, Bundy has now pitched 58 2/3 innings, giving up 29 hits and a .122 batting average against with 10 walks and 70 strikeouts.
This plan will allow for him to soon start going deeper in games than five innings, yet still pitch through the entire minor league season, ending the year at about 125 to 130 innings for the season.
More draft signings: It appears that the Orioles are getting closer to agreements with some of their unsigned top ten round draft picks. It is not clear if that list includes top pick Kevin Gausman or second round selection pitcher Branden Kline. The Orioles also have yet to agree to terms with Christian Walker, their fourth round pick, fifth round pick, pitcher Colin Poche and seventh round pitcher Matt Price.
There is word that the Orioles have some physicals planned for players early next week, another indication that some agreements are close.