Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): Extremely polished with plenty of present stuff, I question the “ace” tag and see him more as a legit number two starter.
The Player: Dylan Bundy (RHP, Baltimore Orioles) – Bundy was the Orioles top pick in June and the fourth pick overall. At various points in the spring he was in consideration for the top pick in the draft and ultimately signed at the August deadline for a whopping $4 million. Bundy signed too late to make his professional debut in 2011 but he is considered polished enough to make his debut with a full-season club in 2012.
Body: 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Bundy is a little shorter than the ideal right-hander but he has a well-conditioned and mature body that provides strength throughout.
Makeup: Extremely hard worker with a desire to improve and develop his weaknesses, has good intelligence that compliments his overall effort.
Delivery/Mechanics: Works down the slope of the mound well, keeps his arm slot high enough to get good angle to the plate despite less than ideal height. He controls his body exceptionally well for his age and keeps his arm in sync with the rest of his body allowing him to have a smooth, almost effortless delivery.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 100, Low – 92, Average – 94-96, Grade – 70/70
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 99, Low 92, Average 94-96, Grade – 70/70
Fastball (FB) Movement: His easy delivery belies the velocity he generates and makes the ball explode on the hitter. He has the ability to get some sink when down in the zone. Grade – 40/50
Overall Fastball: Grade – 60/70
Curveball (CB): Typically thrown at 76-78 mph he can induce ugly swings and misses. Pitch has classic downer action and is a strong power out-pitch. Grade – 60/60
Cutter (CT): Thrown easy and with the same arm slot as his fastball the cutter gives him a slider-like weapon that has some horizontal movement and is a good pitch to induce quick outs and keep his pitch count down. Grade – 50/50
Change-up (CH): Has lacked consistency because he didn’t need to use it but shows solid feel and the pitch offers some sink but can flatten out as he overthrows it at times. Grade – 40/50
Control: Already very refined for his age, he throws strikes with ease and can put all four of his pitches in the strike zone regularly. He can get out of the zone as he tries to reach back for more velocity but that should dissipate with experience. Grade – 60/60
Command: Bundy can locate his fastball to all four quadrants regularly and he can do the same with his cutter. He frequently throws his curveball out of the strike zone and will need to learn to utilize it in the zone against more advanced hitters. Grade – 40/60
Summation: Bundy has everything necessary – the command, feel for pitching and the raw stuff – to be a front of the rotation starter. He needs to fine tune the nuances of his game but that should come with pro instruction and experience. He works tirelessly to hone his craft. He lacks physical projection and his raw stuff is unlikely to improve any significant amount, though it is already very good. He should develop into an excellent number two starter.
Relative Risk: Moderate. He maintains a lower risk level than the average high school arm due to his physical maturity and polish, but he still harbors some risk of flaming out, just as all young pitchers do.
Future: Bundy will almost certainly make his professional debut with Delmarva in the South Atlantic League next spring. Given his polish and maturity it is not inconceivable that he may see time at High-A Frederick in 2012 as well. He should move very quickly through the system, possibly demonstrating bid league readiness by 2014. While it seems commonplace to tag him as a future number one starter I question what aspect of his game will take a significant step forward to warrant that lofty projection. He lacks physical projection beyond the present stuff and in my mind the modest gains he could be expected to make with his change-up and command are not enough to push him past a number two ceiling. That said, he still possesses the ability to be a front of the rotation horse for a long time.