The Baltimore Orioles have changed their mind about their 19-year-old pitching prospect. He’s coming to The Show now.
The O’s will promote righthander Dylan Bundy today, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports, from their instructional league team in Florida. Bundy got the call around 4 a.m. — shortly after the Orioles’ 18-inning victory in Seattle was in the books. The team used seven relievers, who combined to pitch 12 2/3 scoreless innings, in the 4-2 win that allowed Baltimore to keep pace with the New York Yankees in the American League East Division race. The Yankees’ game Tuesday was rained out.
Bundy, who was 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 23 starts at three minor-league cities, was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft. In his first full season, he has given up 67 hits, had 119 strikeouts and 28 walks in 103 2/3 innings.
Late last month, Manager Buck Showalter said the plan called for Bundy to remain in the minors because there were “some things he needs to work on there.” He didn’t rule out a September callup, though, as the Orioles expanded their vision with the playoffs in sight.
“[Procedurally], there's some other things that happen if you do that,” Showalter said. “Frankly, what you got to ask yourself is, does he have a chance to be on your club to start the season next year? And that kind of effects the way you look at it.
“Right now, I want him to pitch his butt off and help Bowie win an Eastern League Championship. That's where I want his mindset. And then, when that's over, look forward to working on some weaknesses down in instructional league with some very good instructors.”
Bundy, like the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg, is pitching with an innings limit. But unlike Strasburg, Bundy is available now. Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci wrote in July:
[Rick] Peterson [the Orioles’ director of pitching development] and [General Manager Dan] Duquette decided to put a cap on the innings Bundy would throw this year. Peterson prefers not to increase a young pitcher's workload by more than 30 innings per year. Duquette prefers a 15% to 20% increase as a cap. Bundy threw 90 innings in 2011, including his work in the instructional league after he was drafted. But Peterson and Duquette also considered that he threw 148 innings in 2010: 79 in high school and 69 in summer ball, about the same workload from his sophomore year.
Using a midway range between his 2010 and '11 workloads, Peterson and Duquette decided Bundy would throw about 125 innings this year. They also decided he would pitch every sixth day to stretch out his innings and to gain the benefit of two bullpen sessions between starts. Then they presented him with two paths to reach his limit: He could pitch without modification, which would mean shutting him down in August when he reached his cap, or he could pitch the first half of the season with limits on his outings to conserve his innings. The second plan called for him to make three starts of three innings, three starts of four innings, four or five more of five innings, and so on.
Bundy liked the latter option. Why?
“When I was drafted, my goal was to be in the major leagues before I was 20 years old,” he says. “My birthday is in November, so I've got to get to work. I knew there was no way it could happen if they shut me down in August.”
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