Baltimore’s No. 1 prospect, starting pitcher Dylan Bundy, put on a show in his Double-A debut with the Bowie Baysox on Tuesday evening, recording his first victory with a 96 pitch performance against the Erie SeaWolves.
While in Single-A Delmarva (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 40 Ks in eight starts) and High-A Frederick (6-3, 2.98 ERA, 63 Ks in 11 starts) Bundy was monitored closely and early on was limited to three innings per outing.
In Bowie, however, Bundy was unleashed and free of an inning limit. But much like his previous two stints in Low-A and High-A, Bundy was forbidden to use his cutter–arguably his best pitch. Lasting 5 1/3 innings, Bundy proved that a higher level of play is not enough to slow down his production, even at the young age of 19.
Bundy has been instructed not to use cutter so that he can work on his command and improve upon the rest of the pitches in his arsenal. He relied heavily on fastballs ranging from 94 to 96 miles per hour and topping off at 97 throughout his five-hit performance.
“I’ve gotta work on my off-speed and fastball command. My change-up is coming along,” Bundy told a group of press members following the second game of the doubleheader.
His change-up, according to pitching coach Kennie Steenstra, was his best pitch of the night as he works to improve his command over off-speed pitches.
“He pitched well tonight,” Steenstra said following the debut. “I was really impressed with the amount of strikes he threw. I thought he had better command of his change-up than of his fastball.”
A September call-up has been rumored and speculated over the last few days, especially after the emergence of Manny Machado, jumping from Double-A to the Majors and making an immediate impact at the age of 20. But Bundy seems content with sticking in Bowie for the remainder of the month and seeing what the organization decides to do with him afterwards.
“I’m not worried about September at all, I’m worried about August,” Bundy stated, shooting down any speculation as to whether he’s ready for the bigs yet. “I wouldn’t say I’m very close at all. It’s only my first start, I have to keep progressing from here.”
One of his many strengths was on display, as he left well under 20% of his pitches up in the zone. Working the lower half of the plate, Bundy worked hitters quickly and wasn’t afraid to make them chase a 77 MPH curveball in the dirt.
His fastball clearly showed no signs of slowing up upon entering the sixth inning, continuing to hit the 94-95 range (according to the official PG’s Stadium radar gun). But late in his outing he showed signs of fatigue as he fell behind in a couple of at bats and walked a couple of batters before lefty Mike Belfiore finally relieved Bundy of his duties.
Bundy denied that he had shown signs of fatigue, stating “I could go 120, 130 pitches right now.”
Kicking himself over the three walks he surrendered against SeaWolves batters, Bundy seemed confident that he could have gone at least seven innings had he made some adjustments. That will all come with time and experience at the Double-A level.
The biggest agenda for the Baltimore organization and top prospect Dylan Bundy is for him to get his feet wet at the Double-A level and continue to progress in terms of command on his off-speed pitches, which Bundy is completely focused on.
There is no known timetable stating when/where he’d be allowed to throw his cutter, the No. 1 pitch in his deep arsenal of pitches.
One thing is known for sure at this point in time. If Dylan, at age 19, can be this dominant at the Single-A and Double-A levels without his best pitch, there’s no telling the amount of damage that will be done once the organization releases him of pitch counts and opens up his full arsenal.