At this point, we could write a whole novel on Dylan Bundy’s history with the Orioles even though he’s only pitched five career innings in the MLB. Drafted fourth overall in 2011, Bundy had a cup of coffee in the majors in 2012, but injuries have derailed his once very promising career in the years since.
Bundy is out of minor league options this year, so he has to be on the MLB roster, giving Buck Showalter another de facto Rule 5 player. He has been placed in the bullpen, with the hope that he’ll pitch well enough for the team to rely upon him as a middle reliever. The team may try to stretch him out a bit to be more of a middle reliever, and one can still hope that he eventually turns into the No.1/No. 2 starter the Orioles drafted what seems like so many years ago.
After six games Bundy had only seen one inning of work, but he appeared again last night in Boston, tossing 2.1 innings and allowing a run on three hits.
It’s understandable that the Orioles want to be cautious with Bundy after the injuries he’s been through, but he needs to be stretched out in order to see what he has in his arsenal. Perhaps they’re looking to do just that, as he threw 43 pitches last night after throwing only 11 in his first appearance.
The O’s really need to be able to rely on Bundy not only because they don’t want to have to hide him as they did with Jason Garcia a year ago, but to lessen the load on the other arms in the ‘pen. Brad Brach, Mychal Givens and Darren O’Day have all seen plenty of work through the first seven games. The starting rotation isn’t pitching deep, which was expected, but the team is constantly throwing out those three pitchers, and having Bundy as a legit option would go a long way to keeping the “true” bullpen arms fresh.
If he can prove himself valuable out of the bullpen, and get stretched out, who knows what the future might hold, even in the short term? Conventional wisdom suggests that there is really no chance of Bundy becoming a starter in the near term, but the Orioles could have a more aggressive plan in place that we’re not privy to.
On the MASN post-game show last night, Rick Dempsey suggested that Bundy could be a starter as early as this season. Tom Davis was quick to point out that the youngster needs to be stretched out, but the idea may not be as far-fetched as it would have seemed even a few months ago.
For now though, let’s see Bundy keep getting in his work out of the bullpen, hopefully being successful, continuing to stretch out, and most importantly, staying healthy.
And here’s to much more Dylan Bundy, both now and in the future.