Quick Q&A with Dylan Bundy

Dylan Bundy picked up a baseball and couldn’t make it zip like the old days. Couldn't come close. And he knew it was time.

The former top prospect’s pitching career was over.

Bundy made 29 starts with the Twins in 2022 and six last summer with Triple-A Syracuse in the Mets organization. They released him on July 24, and the next phase of his professional life slowly began to take shape.

The retirement papers were filed over the winter, around the same time that Bundy got his realtor’s license. He’s still living in Sperry, Okla., where he bought a house next to the one he grew up in, is working for Ary Land Company and he also offers pitching and hitting instruction to stay involved in the sport.

Bundy and his wife Caitlin also became first-time parents, bringing their son Koda into the world on Feb. 11.

When Bundy jumps into a new phase of his life, he doesn’t hold back.

The Orioles made Bundy the fourth-overall selection in the 2011 draft out of Owasso High School and gave him to a five-year, $6.225 million contract that included a $4 million signing bonus. He went 38-45 with a 4.67 ERA in five seasons before executive vice president/ general manager Mike Elias traded him to the Angels on Dec. 4, 2019, for pitchers Kyle Bradish, Zach Peek, Kyle Brnovich and Isaac Mattson.

Bundy underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013 while ranked as baseball’s No.2 prospect. The platelet-rich plasma injection wasn’t a cure for the partial ligament tear. He was the 2012 Futures Game All-Star and Orioles’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year. And he remained a favorite of the local media.

What made you decide to retire?

“I tried to throw a fastball and it wasn’t very fast (laughs). Even in Triple-A last year, the shoulder, elbow, nothing was feeling good and I was sitting there at 87-88 mph, touching maybe a 90 but not very often. And it’s a lot harder, I’m sure you’re aware, to get guys out at that speed, especially at the level they’re at now.”

Why do you think there was such a decline? Just the wear and tear over the years?

“Yeah. It got to a point where it took two, 2 ½, three hours just to get my arm ready and my body ready to go play catch. Wear and tear over the years, I guess.”

Were any teams expressing interest over the winter? Was your agent getting any nibbles?

“There wasn’t any interest. I stayed home after the All-Star break last year when I was in Triple-A. I just decided to stay home. And I thought about picking up a ball in like November or so and just didn’t. And there wasn’t any interest at all. I throw two days a week (as an instructor) just to keep me kind of somewhat in the game in baseball and teaching it, because I still love the game. I’ll throw BP to those guys, play catch with them and whatnot.”

Was it hard to walk away or did you feel like it was time and there were no regrets, and that you had a good career?

“I was happy with it. I fulfilled my dream of playing in the big leagues and ended up making it 7 ½ years or so in the big leagues. Not too many people can say that. So definitely proud of it, definitely no regrets at all for anything I did, whether it was before pro ball or during pro ball or after it. I’m happy with it and I had no problems saying I was done.”

Do you carry a lot of fond Orioles memories, since that’s where it all started?

“Absolutely. That’s the team that drafted me and the team that gave me that opportunity. I see how they’re doing on random things like Facebook, all the things they’ve done over the years and who they’ve drafted and whatnot. And seeing Jackson (Holliday), he’s just 45 minutes down the road from me. I’d say ‘hey’ to him when I saw him at OSU. I got to see him hit a few times there. Maybe the last two offseasons.”

What kind of impression did he make?

“Loud. You know, it’s 9 in the morning and he’s already swinging the bat, so it’s a good thing to see. He definitely doesn’t lack the work ethic.”

How did you end up in your new career?

“I got home in July last year and I decided to take a break and not do anything really. I didn’t want to rush into anything. But even the last year or two in pro ball when the velocity started coming down, I could read the writing on the wall and tell it was almost over. Tried Driveline and all that and it didn’t really get back. Just thinking about what I wanted to do after baseball was over because I can’t just sit at home. That’s not a good idea.

“I knew I wanted to do something with land and that’s mainly what we do with Ary. Making land stuff or homes on acreage. I became a real estate agent. I got a license back in January. Took two months or so of doing the courses, the online stuff, and then passing the exam. And then getting with a brokerage. Ary just happened to be not too far from my house. Those last few years of my baseball career you start to think, ‘What am I going to do after this?’ And then it kind of just happened.

“Just getting started so I’m pretty brand new at it. Something to keep me busy. It’s challenging, it’s definitely different than baseball. It gets me out of my comfort zone, which I think is good for just growth in any person, doing stuff that you haven’t been able to do or trying new things. And then we had a baby on Feb. 11. You know how I am, pretty private. We don’t post stuff too often.”

How has being a dad changed your life?

“My wife, I don’t know if you remember, she’s a lieutenant at the fire department, so every third day I’m on daddy duty. But it’s awesome. It’s definitely challenging. I’ve picked a lot of challenging stuff after baseball, I guess, but I think it’s good just to keep my mind busy and doting on him and making sure he’s safe and everything like that.”

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