In an interview with Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette on Wednesday at Camden Yards, Duquette made it clear he is not a fan of young pitchers throwing cut fastballs.
“The philosophy of the organization is to encourage pitchers to develop a good delivery, command of their fastball, an off-speed pitch and a good breaking ball,” Duquette said. “The first breaking ball that we work with our young pitchers on is a curveball. So that is basically the level of progression of our instruction and our organization philosophy.
“First of all, the cut fastball, we don’t like it as a pitch, OK? And we don’t like it for young pitchers because it takes away from the development of their curveball, which is a better pitch long-term and also, the velocity of their fastball. So we encourage development of an overhand breaking ball that has depth along with command of their fastball and, of course, velocity and movement will get the hitter out.”
But in Bundy’s case, the 19-year-old right-hander has said that is his best pitch. Have the Orioles taken away Bundy’s top pitch?
“Why don’t you take a look at the chart with the average against cutters in the big leagues, batting average against and then come back and tell me that that’s a great pitch,” Duquette said.
“We don’t like the cutter. We don’t like the cutter as an effective pitch. Name me all the great pitchers that used it as their primary pitch in the big leagues.”
Don’t bring up Mariano Rivera, because I did and Duquette isn’t hearing that one.
“That’s a fastball. That’s a fastball. That’s his only pitch, he’s a one-pitch wonder. It’s his fastball,” Duquette said. “Name me all the pitchers in the big leagues that make a living with a cut fastball? Rivera’s is a fastball. It moves.”
I asked Duquette if Bundy would be allowed to use the pitch next year and he didn’t say yes or no to that.
“We encourage all our young pitchers to develop an overhand breaking ball. It’s better for their long-term success,” he said.
I asked Duquette if Bundy has asked team officials to allow him to throw his cutter and if he has fought against the O’s taking that pitch from him.
“I don’t know. I don’t have an idea, but I can tell why we have that philosophy. Better long-term yield for the pitchers,” Duquette said.
Cutter or no cutter, Bundy is now pitching at his third level this season, now that he has moved to Double-A amid rumors the club is considering calling him up in September when rosters can expand. Is Bundy an option for a September call-up?
“All the players need to distinguish themselves in Double-A, that’s the proving ground. I’d prefer players to prove themselves in Double-A before we consider them for the major leagues,” Duquette said.
Click below to hear Duquette talking about this topic: