Baltimore Orioles: Four players who under-performed in 2018
Dylan Bundy has always been hyped as the Orioles future ace. Is it time we let go of that assumption?
Scrolling through the trove of Getty Images, it’s disheartening to see just how many pictures there are of Dylan Bundy with his head in his hands. Ideally, we wouldn’t have many of these pictures to choose from, but Bundy hasn’t lived up to the expectation of Ace since he started pitching in an Orioles uniform.
The Orioles Opening Day starter was projected by FanGraphs Depth Charts for 28 starts and a 4.56 ERA, a 4.63 FIP, and 8.2 K/9.
Bundy did make 31 starts this year, which is valuable in itself, but his performance across those starts was severely disappointing. He did post more than a strikeout per inning for the first time in his career, but his 5.45 ERA, 5.17 FIP and the league-leading 41 homers allowed are all way below-average.
Bundy’s 15.2% soft contact rate induced was fourth-worst among qualified starters, but what’s really worrying is that his average fastball velocity was down to 92.0 mph this year.
That’s easily the lowest mark of his career, down from his 2016 high of 94.9 mph. A three mph drop in fastball velocity is usually a good indication of an injury, but neither Bundy nor the Orioles announced anything in the way of an arm or shoulder issue for him in 2018.
There’s still a pathway to success for Bundy, but it’s hard to believe that it’s through the current research & development and analytics team in the Orioles front office, or with current pitching coach Roger McDowell.
This piece by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic ($) provides valuable insight into the Orioles front office, and their lack of awareness regarding how to provide players with the best available information.
Maybe the new leadership in the front office will help Bundy develop into the pitcher we once thought he could be, but after this season, it’s hard to remain optimistic for the young hurler going forward.