Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dylan Bundy will look to end the month of August on a high note against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Dylan Bundy entered his third full season with the Baltimore Orioles in 2018 coming off two decent seasons and hopes that he would continue to develop into a reliable top of the rotation arm in Birdland. Unfortunately, 2018 ended in disaster as Bundy’s 16 losses and 41 home runs allowed both led the league.
Declining velocity, continued troubles with allowing home runs, and questions about whether or not Bundy was worth keeping around surrounded the former first-round pick this season, but the trade deadline came and went with Bundy still on the roster. With at least two more months to prove he belongs on the 2020 roster, Dylan Bundy has been making the most of his opportunity.
Going into his final August start on Sunday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays, Bundy is coming off arguably his best start of the season and is looking to finish up his best month of play in 2019. Looking at his numbers and charts from his August starts shows a few small adjustments making a noticeable difference for the 26-year-old right-hander.
On the surface, Bundy is 0-2 with a 4.13 ERA in his four August starts, but a little deeper look paints a much better picture. For instance, his FIP is more than a full run lower, sitting at 3.05. His 6.3% walk rate is the lowest of any month, and his 57% groundball rate is a massive upgrade over his monthly-best of 43.7%.
You know what happens when you produce more ground balls? Fewer home runs happen. In June, Bundy allowed 2.13 HR/9 IP. That number was a bit lower in July, but still sat at 1.93 HR/9 IP. Bundy’s home run rate in August is a very impressive 0.75 HR/9 IP (2 HR in 24 IP). The August version of Dylan Bundy has been a pitcher worth keeping around for a bit longer, or someone worthy of bringing back something of a little more value than before. But he’s going to have to show he can do this for more than a month if the Orioles are going to keep him in the rotation or before another team comes calling with something worth Mike Elias’ time.
Bundy is throwing his four-seam fastball just 37% of the time in August, the fewest four-seam fastballs he’s thrown in a month all season (42% is second-lowest total). Bundy is also using his changeup less, mixing in more sinkers and curveballs, according to Baseball Savant. This has had a positive effect on his four-seamer.
In his four starts this month, Bundy is producing a 25.8% whiff rate, more than double his whiff rate with this particular pitch in each of the last three months (just 11% in July). Opponents are hitting just .214 against the pitch and he hasn’t allowed a single home run, posting a .234 wOBA. Here are those numbers against his four-seamer in previous months (just against four-seamer)-
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- July- .375 average, .505 wOBA, 3 HR
- June- .400 average, .486 wOBA, 4 HR
- May- .311 average, .401 wOBA, 2 HR
What about his velocity? His average fastball in August is registering at 91.8 mph, the fastest average velocity of any month and one whole tick faster than in July.
Bundy will make his final start of the month this afternoon (Sunday) and still has the full month of September to continue building on his recent success. I don’t want to go much deeper yet, let’s first see if these new trends are truly a new way of successful pitching for Bundy first. However, they are encouraging and something to note when you catch today’s game against Tampa Bay.
First pitch for Sunday’s series finale against Tampa Bay is scheduled for 1:05 pm. Baltimore will then have Monday off before a two-game series on the road against Washington before another off day on Thursday.