Through it all - from his stunning pro start with the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds in 2012 to more than 100 starts for the Orioles - Dylan Bundy was a class act.
I’m pretty sure he will continue to be that for his new team, the Los Angeles Angels. After nine pro seasons with the organization, Bundy is no longer a part of Birdland. The right-hander was traded to the Angels yesterday for four right-handed minor league pitchers. The O’s got Isaac Mattson, Kyle Bradish, Kyle Brnovich and Zach Peek in the deal.
The Orioles took a big piece out of their current rotation to try to improve their future outlook. They keep pumping players into a farm system they hope will become the elite talent pipeline general manager Mike Elias wants to build for sustained success in Baltimore.
Tommy John surgery and later shoulder issues kept Bundy from becoming the No. 1 starter O’s fans hoped for when the club drafted him No. 4 overall out of Owasso (Okla.) High School in 2011. He came with high expectations and lived up to them during a stunning first season of pro ball. That season ended with him ranked as the No. 2 prospect in baseball. Five times Baseball America rated Bundy as the Orioles’ No. 1.
I’ll always have great respect for Bundy for how he carried himself on and off the field, and great appreciation for his massive amount of patience, among many other things. I can’t tell you how many interviews I did with the kid filled with question after question about his surgery and its aftermath. He never once wondered aloud if I could somehow find something, anything else to talk about. He never said no to an interview request.
Beyond that, I observed a player who was a great teammate. He never once - and he never even came close - threw a teammate or coach under the bus for anything. Never complained about a lack of runs or misplays behind him on defense. He was team-first all the way and all the time.
He’s a gamer and a real pro. It was a pleasure to be there for all of it. The stunning start when he showed a 98 mph fastball and strong secondaries on the farm. The battles through the surgery. Re-inventing himself briefly in the bullpen and then making it as a big league starter who was durable and dependable and some days very good.
For me, he is someone always worth rooting for.
Last night on a conference call, Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler made some comments on Bundy and the trade.
Eppler on what he likes about Bundy: “He has shown a good amount of durability over the last three years, averaging somewhere in the 160-165-inning mark. It’s important to us to have guys that can post and continue to take their turns. He’s a tough and competitive individual that has shown the ability to adapt as he has matured at the major league level. Someone that threw at a different velocity at 19, 20, 22. He’s developed a good amount of feel in the eyes of our evaluators. Glad we could get this deal accomplished and get one of our goals crossed off before we head into the Winter Meetings.”
Eppler on whether Bundy can be more effective moving forward: “I would say, in Dylan’s case, he’s pitching in a ballpark that was a fairly hitter-friendly ballpark and was going up against some notable lineups regularly. So I think there can be an environmental perspective that can lend itself to increased optimism. This is a guy that can miss bats, and he’s shown the improved ability to keep the ball on the ground and he throws a lot of strikes.”
Eppler on if he had been pursuing Bundy previously?: “He’s been a name that we kind of floated Baltimore’s direction in the past. Was a guy that, when we sat down as a group early in the offseason, we looked at players on the free agent market and some on the trade market. He was someone we identified, and we reached out to a number of teams on trade possibilities. We got one of our goals crossed off the list before San Diego.”
Eppler on giving up four pitchers for Bundy: “We have internal evaluations on all our players, whether they are in the minors or majors. We try to match the value that we feel is coming back with the players we are going to use to procure that player. Baltimore had a number of names in mind. Those are the players they had targeted. As we kind of worked through the deal, that is how it evolved.
“If their approach was quantity, we were open to that. If their approach would have been one player and aiming somewhere different, we would have entertained that too. We kind of worked through the deal and this was ultimately where it went. We didn’t have a target list of guys we wanted to utilize in this trade. Those guys are talented. Quite frankly, you give up players you just recently drafted, that can go in a number of directions. Every deal hurts. This one is no different.”
Thank you, Dylan. pic.twitter.com/ffbFx854Oi-- Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) December 4, 2019