“We’re really excited,” Keys first baseman Aaron Baker said after their rain-shortened victory Wednesday. “He is throwing the ball really well. We have heard a lot about how he works. We’re happy that we are getting another solid arm.”
Bundy, 19, dominated the South Atlantic League where he posted a 1-0 record with a 0.00 ERA in 30 innings of work. In those eight starts, the fourth overall draft pick in 2011 gave up only five hits, two walks, two unearned runs, and struck out 40 hitters.
According to Baseball America, Bundy is ranked number 10 on their 2012 top 100 prospect list. He has an electric fastball, which reportedly topped 100 mph in high school. The Bundy family has always been known for their curveball. Bobby Bundy, who is the older brother of Dylan, also touts the pitch at Bowie.
About a month remains in the first half of the Keys’ season as they currently see themselves at the bottom of the Carolina League standings (16-26). Frederick has won their last two games and now they feel a sense of momentum with the recent moves that have been made. The return of Baker (oblique), Trent Mummey (hamstring) from injury and the promotions of third baseman Michael Mosby and left fielder Johnny Ruettiger have made a difference for this team. Bundy should make the biggest impression of them all.
“He’s going to make a big impact,” Keys manager Orlando Gomez said after the game Wednesday. “Players are always expecting to see guys like that. He is going to be good for the team too.”
Frederick is going to employ a six man starting rotation, which includes Bundy, Scott Copeland, Rick Zagone, Tyler Wilson, Kyle Simon and Trent Howard. The Orioles are extra cautious with their top prospect as they don’t want him to exceed 120 innings in his first professional season. The Keys manager said Bundy will go five innings for the next six to seven starts.
A lot of the projections indicate Bundy will be up in Camden Yards by 2013. The Orioles simply can’t rush a prospect, which they consider their ace of the future, up this early for fear of arm troubles or just simply not ready to face big league hitters.
There is a learning curve that a high school pitcher needs to adjust to that often gets overlooked. Yes, Bundy dominated with the Shorebirds, but 98% of the time he blew hitters away with his fastball. As he rises in the organization, he will need to learn how to throw his breaking ball and off-speed pitches to professional hitters in certain counts. As good as his heater is he can’t solely depend on that pitch to get hitters out.
“There is no sense to be rushing him and trying to get that many innings out of him in his first year,” Gomez said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the kid pitch here and everything.”
The Oklahoma native is slated to make his Carolina League debut Saturday May 26 against Salem. The Redsox (25-17) own the Carolina League’s best record. The Redsox have top organizational prospects including Centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who is hitting .367 on the season, Shortstop Xander Boegarts, who has drawn comparisons to Orioles’ prospect Manny Machado, and SP Matt Barnes, who was rated their seventh best prospect in the system by Fox Sports.
Bundy will be facing his biggest challenge yet, but that is a part of the business when moving up to the next level.
“He is going to be facing a really good team,” Gomez said. “They have some pretty solid hitters on their team. The challenge is a good thing and I am looking forward to seeing it.”
Gomez adds that the entire team will benefit from his presence in the clubhouse, and also from his pitching habits. The likelihood of quick innings with Bundy is high and will keep fielders on their toes.
Members of the Baltimore Orioles organization are expected to watch their prized prospect Saturday, which could benefit the entire team.
“The other players are going to be sharp too,” Gomez said. “The players know they are coming here to see Bundy, but you know the others are going to want to show what they can do also. The guys are going to be ready and we will play a great game Saturday.”
Come out to Frederick’s Harry Grove Stadium to watch Bundy make his debut Saturday at 6:00 PM EST.