The Bundy and Gausman factor (four Orioles in Law's top 100)

There were some very interesting responses over the weekend to my latest edition of "10 questions for O's fans." I was a little surprised by some of the responses to the question about pitchers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

I asked readers that if they believe one or both could make the major league rotation this year, when might that happen? The surprise was in the restraint many of you showed by responding they would not get there until September, if then.

Here some numbers from the respondents about Bundy:
Will make roster on opening day: 2
May: 2
June: 9
July: 9
After All-Star break: 5
August: 7
September: 11

One person predicted Bundy would not see a day in the majors this year.

The breakdown of the responses about Gausman:
Will make roster in June: 3
July: 0
August: 3
September: 18

Eight people predicted that Gausman would not pitch in the majors this year. There were many predictions that whenever Gausman makes the majors, if he does this season, that it will be in the bullpen.

My surprise was that I thought more fans would expect one or both to join the rotation sooner than later.

In an interview before the Winter Meetings, O's executive vice president Dan Duquette said both could be in the rotation this year and he didn't downplay the chance of it happening.

"They have the talent. They have serious talent. They have the talent and skills to be first division major league starting pitchers. Both of them. They are going to be good, both of them," he said.

Whether either pitcher joins the rotation this season is not totally up to them. Will the Orioles need to dip into the minors for starters? Where will the big two sit in the pecking order in the mind of team management? Will their season innings limits impact a possible call to the majors? Will both continue to progress and pitch as well as expected?

After a season where Bundy and Gausman combined to pitch just 129 1/3 innings in the minors, there is still plenty for the duo to work on and improve on, on the farm. Andy MacPhail always said it was better to call on a prospect a month too late rather than one too soon.

But this pair is knocking on the door even with such little pro experience under their belts. They are talented. They are mature. They have excellent work ethics and are very driven. They are not a sure thing, as no one is. But they give the O's the best one-two punch of pitching prospects in all of baseball in the minds of many.

After pitching 111 1/3 innings last season, it would seem Bundy would be ticketed for 140 to 150 innings this year. Gausman threw 141 2/3 innings last season, counting LSU and the O's minors. He could probably go to 175 innings or so.

The big two are on the way. It is just a matter of when at this point, it seems.

Updated: Just two Orioles minor leaguers were ranked in the top 100 prospects when MLB.com released its list last week. Today, ESPN's Keith Law published his top 100 with four Orioles on the list. Dylan Bundy was rated No. 3 with Kevin Gausman No. 26, Jonathan Schoop No. 50 and Eduardo Rodriguez at No. 100.

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