Dylan Bundy will get an award tonight at Camden Yards. To no one’s surprise, he was the easy choice as this season’s winner of the Jim Palmer Award, which goes to the Orioles’ minor league Pitcher of the Year.
“It’s a good honor and I’m blessed to have that,” Bundy said. “I’ll take that award with honor. It’s a huge honor for an award being named after Jim Palmer. Not really sure what the words are for that, but it’s exciting.
“My goal at the beginning of the year was to be in (Double-A) Bowie. I made that goal and then exceeded that by Buck [Showalter] calling me up here, so I’m happy with it.”
The 19-year-old Bundy went 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 23 starts split between low Single-A Delmarva, high Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie this season. He last pitched in the minors on Sept. 5 for the Baysox in a playoff game versus Akron, allowing six hits and one run over six innings.
What stood out most this season?
“The Eastern League playoffs,” he said. “Playing in a playoff game was pretty exciting. Being here now in this hunt we’re in right now is fun and exciting.”
Bundy set the tone for his outstanding season when he began at Single-A Delmarva and threw 30 shutout innings, allowing just five hits. He walked only two, fanned 40 and had a batting average against of just .053 with the Shorebirds.
“I guess it was good,” he said in a mild understatement. “It was a fun experience to start in Low-A and make it all the way up here. Having success at all three levels and now waiting to succeed here and hoping I do.”
When asked if there was one person that was most helpful to him along the way, he cited a catcher he played with at Bowie.
“Probably Brian Ward,” Bundy said. “He’s a great catcher. I love that guy. Calls a real good game and doesn’t let a ball get by him. He helped me for the three weeks I was there.”
Meanwhile, a few feet away in the O’s clubhouse, L.J. Hoes talked about getting the Brooks Robinson Award, which goes to the minor league Player of the Year.
“Very exciting,” Hoes said. “I found out last Thursday, but I couldn’t say anything. But now that the news is out I’m definitely grateful for the award and appreciate what the Orioles are doing for me.
“It means a lot. The hard work is paying off. I put in a lot of work to make myself better. To be in the majors and get the player of the year is a dream come true.”
But he said no award would outrank his making it to the majors.
“I would say being here (tops the award). The awards and accolades will come if your team is doing well. But I like to be up here and take everything in.”
Between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk this season, the 22-year-old Hoes batted .287 with five homers, 54 RBIs and an OPS of .759. His stats actually got better as he moved up to Triple-A. In 82 games with the Tides, he batted .300 with three homers, 38 RBIs and a .771 OPS.
He said his game improved in many aspects this season.
“Just everything. Stealing bases and being smarter on the bases. My defense has picked up tremendously. Getting back in the outfield and playing out there all the time again. Guys are bigger and stronger than high school, so I focused on getting better jumps out there. Next year, just want to work on getting stronger and consistenly repeat my swing to be able to drive the ball more and hopefully hit more home runs,” Hoes added.
He said he hasn’t taken any time yet to think much about next season and wonder if his big 2012 season has positioned him better in the organization moving forward.
“I really haven’t because the year is not over yet. I don’t even know if I’m going to the (Arizona) Fall League or not. I definitely think this year has helped me out and gave me more confidence. I got to this level and even though I haven’t played yet, hopefully it’s given me the confidence to play here and help this team win.”