Orioles pitching prospect Bundy shines in minors
By DAVID GINSBURG
BALTIMORE (AP) During his first season in professional baseball, Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy has learned about the goodness of Maryland crabs, explored the East Coast for the first time and displayed an enormous amount of patience.
The 19-year-old right-hander has also dominated the South Atlantic League, blowing away batters in much the same fashion he did a year ago in high school.
Bundy has started five games for the Orioles' low Class A affiliate, the Delmarva Shorebirds. Over 17 innings he has allowed one hit, walked two and struck out 25. He started with 13 hitless innings before finally yielding a single in his last outing, so opposing batters are now 1 for 50 against him.
"I can't say I expected it," Bundy said this week by phone from Savannah, Ga. "But I definitely wanted to compete every outing, and I guess you could say I was hoping it would go this way. And I guess it is."
That doesn't mean Bundy is destined to be pitching for the Orioles anytime soon. The team has decided to bring him along slowly - giving him five days rest between starts and pulling him before he's pitched half a game - in part to make sure the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft doesn't put too much strain on his valuable arm.
Bundy's first three starts were three innings apiece, and the last two were each four innings.
"He's off to a good start in pro ball, and our program is designed for him to get acclimated to a five-day rotation," said Dan Duquette, the Orioles' vice president of baseball operations. "He's doing real well with that. He understands what we're trying to accomplish. The important thing is for him is to get command of his fastball, and as he pitches more innings he'll be able to work on his secondary pitches."
Bundy knows all about 19-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper, who was recalled from the minors last week by the Washington Nationals and has thus far performed well in the big leagues. But Bundy is OK with biding his time before taking on guys like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez at Yankee Stadium.
"It's awesome for Harper. He deserves it. He played well in the minor leagues and he's helping out that team right now," Bundy said. "They'll call me up whenever they're ready. I'm patient. There's a plan and they're sticking to it, and I think it's a good idea."
Bundy went 11-0 with 0.20 ERA as a senior with Owasso High in Oklahoma before the Orioles signed him to a five-year major league contract that included a $4 million signing bonus. His first year as a pro has been a learning experience, mostly off the field.
"It's basically been everything I thought it would be. The only thing that's different is the travel," Bundy said. "I've never seen the East Coast, except Florida."
The seafood is a whole lot better on the Eastern Shore, too.
"I'm from Oklahoma," he said. "It's kind of hard for me to get the fresh crabs they have here."
The baseball, however, is more familiar. Bundy's job is to get people out, and that is precisely what he's done. And when he doesn't - such as when Asheville's leadoff hitter singled to open the game last Monday - Bundy doesn't sweat it.
"I really didn't think anything about it," he said. "I made a quality inside pitch on a 1-0 count and he was able to take the fastball down the line. I'm going to give up hits in the minor leagues. I'm going to give up a lot of hits in my career."
It hasn't happened often. Not yet, anyway.
"He's exceeding our expectations with his ability to get hitters out at a high rate," Delmarva manager Ryan Minor said. "He's putting in the work and effort necessary to make himself better every day, and we're excited about his progress."
If he keeps this up, Bundy will soon take his act to the big leagues.
"That's my dream since I was a little boy," he said. "I can't wait to get there and help the team out the best I can."
Updated May 4, 2012