The man that set up the pitching program for Dylan Bundy this year, director of pitching development Rick Peterson, believes the Orioles' top pitching prospect will do well in the majors after his call-up today.
"I think he's going to handle it fine. In my opinion, this is what Dylan expected. He's put himself in this position," Peterson said of the 19-year-old. "Emotionally he will be totally fine. He won't be overwhelmed."
Peterson set up a plan where Bundy threw just a few innings in his early starts this year and was turned loose to go deep into games late in the minor league season. He was projected to pitch around 125 innings and he is at 109 2/3 frames now, so he has a few innings remaining under that limit, which was not a hard cap on his innings but a general projection.
"Absolutely and that was the intent," Peterson said. "We wanted our pitchers to cross the finish line in this marathon (of a season), so when they do get to the big leagues, they are fresh and ready to pitch into October. That is the way we always structured this."
Peterson had seen Bundy throw two bullpen sessions during the Orioles' instructional league workouts in Sarasota, Fla., last week. He said the plan there was not for Bundy to add anything new, just continue to work on the pitches and delivery he has worked on all year.
"It is not like there is another skill or pitch that he needs," he added.
Peterson feels Bundy made improvement in many areas during his first year in pro ball.
"Well, his delivery, in looking at the biomechanical analysis and adjustments he was able to make, is so much cleaner," Peterson said. "It has so much more rhythm and a flow to it. He certainly has improved his fastball command and his changeup has come leaps and bounds. It's now a pitch he is comfortable using at any point in the count.
"His curveball is still a pitch that he battles. He fights it. There are days that it is really, really good and days when he is searching for that release point to be consistent with it. But he has such great makeup and determination that he believes he can do anything and he can."
I asked Peterson if he ranks Bundy's pitch quality as fastball first followed by changeup and curveball?
"I do, but there are days when his curveball may be better than his changeup, but his changeup is just more consistent than his curve right now," he said. "But as far as the quality, they are both of very high quality."
Peterson said this should be a proud day for the O's organization when they can call up a 19-year-old prospect at the end of just his first season in the pro ranks.
"I think it is a major statement for our organization from our scouting department, to our player development to the leadership of (Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter)," Peterson said. "It clearly shows that the Orioles are going in the right direction. One of the big factors all along was the development of our young pitchers. Certainly, when we need them the most, they are standing up and being counted on."