WILMINGTON, Del. - As Dylan Bundy gets ready to take the mound tonight here at Frawley Stadium for his 18th start of the season and 10th with Single-A Frederick, he could experience both a first and a last this evening.
While he will pitch beyond five innings for the first time as a pro, there are also some indications that tonight could be his last start with Frederick before he gets moved to Double-A Bowie.
A few minutes ago, I asked Frederick pitching coach Blaine Beatty if this would be Bundy's last Frederick start tonight.
"There has been some talk (about him moving up)," Beatty said. "We've run it by one another a couple of different times. I spoke to Rick (Peterson, Orioles director of pitching development) yesterday, and my opinion is I'd like to see him stretched out here, get to that sixth or seventh inning here before he goes to the next level."
Bundy is expected to go six innings, and possibly a seventh, if he is pitch efficient. He will probably be on a pitch limit of near 100 for this game.
Bundy is 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA for Frederick. Over 42 1/3 innings, he has allowed 39 hits with 13 walks and 48 strikeouts. He had an ERA of 4.34 over his first four Frederick starts, but is 2-1 with a 1.90 ERA over his last five starts for the Keys.
How has he been throwing recently?
"Fairly well," Beatty said. "I think the big thing is developing those secondary pitches - his changeup and breaking ball. He's done well with that. There have been a couple of games where he has wavered a bit with command of his fastball, but he always has come back to make pitches when he needs to.
"The more he throws them (his secondary pitches), the more consistent I see them becoming in the game. His changeup has been a good pitch. He's thrown it in any count and gotten several strikeouts with it in the past couple of games. It's a pitch he can go to when hitters are starting to cheat to his fastball."
The Orioles want Bundy to learn during the game when the right time is to throw his chaneup by reading the hitters' bats, and Beatty said he is making progress doing that. He's been throwing his curveball mostly when he is ahead in the count.
Beatty said he has enjoyed working with the 19-year-old hurler that Baseball America ranks as the No. 1 prospect in baseball.
"He's been great. He doesn't set himself apart from anyone else," Beatty said. "He's very down to earth. Just a good Oklahoma boy. He's shown me a lot of discipline for a young man."
Beatty said Bundy continues to have good zip on his fastball as he works to learn which velocity will provide him a good combination of speed, movement and command.
"He's averaging 94 to 95 (mph) with his fastball velocity," Beatty said. "He starts out 91-ish and ends up 96, 97 and has hit 98 a few times here.
"He's got a very controlled delivery, and the ball comes out of his hand better than I've seen any young kid in a long time. To have the ability to have the kind of delivery he has, I've heard catchers say he's just so easy with it."
Check back here later today for more from Frawley Stadium, including game updates and postgame quotes from Bundy. You can also follow my updates tonight via Twitter.