The Orioles prized pitching prospect has pitched exceptionally well enough to receive a call to Bowie. Since July 4, the right-hander has only allowed one earned run in 16 1/3 innings. Since July 20, he hasn’t allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings of work. Bundy is 6-3 with a 1.59 ERA in his first season with the Orioles organization.
The 19-year-old has garnered a lot of attention from the national media including ESPN and NBC Sports. It’s a lot for a teenager and the pressure is mounting for Bundy to succeed. As much as the Orioles’ organization and the fans want to see him on the mound in Camden Yards, the debate is legitimate on whether to bring the kid up to another level before the end of his first full season.
I’m personally not a fan of seeing pitchers rushed to the higher levels especially at a young age. Yes, he may be pitching well, but there are many factors other than results on the field that should determine the status of a prospect the likes of Bundy.
One is his maturity on the field and within the clubhouse. Based on his demeanor in both settings he gets an A+. It’s safe to say he is currently going through an incredible experience as a professional pitcher in his rookie season. He has handled the media with class. However, he may be getting weary of the attention.
Bundy is making adjustments at each level. There were a couple starts when he struggled and couldn’t command his pitches. He has handled adversity extremely well. The Carolina League only features eight teams including the Keys, so he sees familiar foes every outing. He can shut anyone down the first time around, but the second and third times around are crucial to see how teams react to his pitching mechanics.
The Orioles need to let Bundy decide based on performance and personality when to promote him to Bowie. Many prospects are rushed now-a-days because of the hype that surrounds them and the needs of the organization.
In the NBC Sports special Sports Illustrated aired July 24, it was noted that the odds of a high school pitcher succeeding at the next level are slim. Not that the Orioles’ flame thrower can’t succeed. He has the work ethic and drive to do so, but even with all those positive qualities, management can get in the way.
Not many pitchers aged 19 to 21 are currently in the big leagues. There is a reason for it… There is no need to rush a franchise prospect. The Orioles can’t miss on Bundy, or they will never live it down.
Photo Credit: Rodger M. Wood