During the 2017 season, the majority of Baltimore Orioles pitchers had serious issues achieving any sense of respectable consistency on the mound.
But, there was one Baltimore Orioles pitcher who had a winning record and achieved an ERA that was not a complete embarrassment.
Dylan Bundy was the only starting pitcher who recorded more wins than losses. And, his ERA never moved far away from the league average.
Comparing to league averages
According to Baseball Reference, the MLB ERA league average in 2017 was 4.36. This is the highest it has been since 2007, when it was 4.47. Dylan Bundy finished the season with an ERA Of 4.24. The highest his ERA went in the season was 4.53, which was on July 23 when the team battled the Houston Astros. Despite the raised average, the Orioles won the game 9-7, but Bundy did not get the win for his own record.
Comparing Bundy to other Orioles
Bundy’s low ERA was a bright spot in a season full of disappointing pitching. The only time that fans could truly expect that the O’s would get a win was when Bundy toed the rubber. He finished the season with a win-loss record of 13-9. Kevin Gausman was the only starting pitcher who finished with a record that was close to .500 – with 11 wins and 12 losses. The other pitchers (Wade Miley, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Chris Tillman) combined for a win-loss record of 15 and 33.
Compared to the other Orioles pitchers, Bundy was in a class all his own.
Bundy pitched in 28 games and 169.2 innings. Of those 28 games, the Orioles had a .500 average. Bundy’s best game was on August 29, when pitched a nine-inning shutout against the Seattle Mariners. He threw 116 pitches, which was a season and career high.
Making the transition to the rotation
This was Bundy’s first full season as a starter. In 2016, he threw out of the bullpen for the first half of the season. Then after the All-Star Break in July, he transitioned. His 2017 season proved that it was a good choice to move him to the rotation.
Along with his notable ERA, he had the lowest WHIP of the rotation. Only Mychal Givens, Brad Brach, Richard Bleier, and Darren O’Day had WHIP numbers that were lower than Bundy’s 1.20. According to Baseball Reference, the league average WHIP was 1.342.
Another impressive number for Bundy was the number of home runs he allowed. In a season that set the home record with over 6,000 dingers, it is notable that Bundy allowed 26 of them. This is fewer than one home run per game (.929), which is well below the 1.26 league average of home runs allowed per game. Compared to the other Orioles starters, Bundy walked the fewest batters (51), which resulted in a walk rate of 2.79 walks per nine. He also had the most strikeouts per nine and 2.98.
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If I were to grade Bundy on the season, of the Orioles pitchers, Bundy would be the only starter who would earn an A for the season. However, if he was compared to other American League starting pitchers, he would receive a B, especially since he is pitching near the league average.
For 2018, Bundy needs to work on his endurance and his ability to get more outs. He is the ace on the staff, but to be considered an ace outside of Baltimore, he’s got to drop a few numbers and add a few, too. His ERA needs to get into the threes and stay there. He also needs to pitch closer to 200 innings and get closer to 200 strikeouts.
He is only 24 years old, so he has room for growth. After a few more seasons, pitching 200 innings and getting 200 strikeouts in 30 starts should be commonplace for Bundy.