BOWIE, Md. - Yes, there is a little excitement at Prince George’s Stadium as Dylan Bundy gets set to make his Double-A debut at 6 o’clock in Game 1 of a doubleheader.
Bowie’s Gary Kendall has never managed Bundy but he saw him in spring training in Sarasota. He was impressed with what he saw.
“How focused he was,” Kendall said. “There is urgency with him. He wants to move up as quick as he can. Not to say that isn’t in every kid, but you see it in him more. You see really good work habits and a guy with an impeccable training regime.
“You look at deliveries and the ball coming out of his hand. When I saw him throw bullpens in spring, the quality of what he threw was certainly impressive. I saw him throw a scoreless inning in a spring training game and he looked like he belonged. It was very impressive.
“I just want him to come here and be relaxed and have fun. It’s his third stop in the minors this year and he’s been very successful to this point.”
I asked Kendall what challenges Bundy may face at the Double-A level.
“The challenges are going to be probably (facing) a deeper lineup. That can affect some. Some lineups in the lower minors might not be as challenging at the bottom of the order. It’s all based on how he competes here. It will be a challenge if he doesn’t get ahead of hitters. But with the good arm that he has, I just think it will be just facing better competition.
“He came here yesterday and threw for (pitching coach) Kennie (Steenstra). He threw some off flat ground. That is just part of his regular routine.”
While Kendall welcomes one top O’s prospect tonight he just sent another one on his way to Baltimore when Manny Machado was called up to the Orioles.
Machado’s bat was on fire over his final nine Bowie games from July 29 to August 8 when he went 16-for-33 with three doubles, two triples, three homers and seven RBIs.
“Offensively he was just shorter (with his swing),” Kendall said of Machado’s torrid hitting stretch. “And there was a lot of intensity on each pitch. You like to see players start to tighten their game up toward the end of the year. There was a lot of bat intensity and good swings on pitches even when he didn’t get the results. How he would stay on a slider say, where he may have missed that pitch earlier in the year. And he’s got the bat speed.
“Our hitting people, (coach) Denny Hocking did a wonderful job with him, they had a great relationship and (minor league hitting coordinater) Mike Boulanger and (instructor) Terry Crowley, for that matter. All the offensive success should be directed to those guys who worked hard and stay on him and made each at-bat important to him.
“We are real excited for him. That’s a tough act to follow, the week he had,” Kendall said.