Baltimore Orioles: A Look At The Return For Dylan Bundy

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JULY 12: Starting pitcher Dylan Bundy #37 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on after the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 12, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JULY 12: Starting pitcher Dylan Bundy #37 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on after the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 12, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Orioles traded away Dylan Bundy to the Los Angeles Angels for four minor league pitchers. We take a look at each of these arms below.

After rumors of a potential trade involving Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dylan Bundy emerged last Wednesday, we can now officially say that the Bundy era is over in Baltimore. As first reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Orioles have traded their former first-round pick to the Los Angeles Angeles for four minor league pitchers, one day after tendering him a contract for 2020.

Orioles general manager Mike Elias has entered the next phase of the rebuild, which includes shedding salary and trading away major league talent on the current roster capable of bringing back minor league talent as efforts to stockpile the talent pipeline down on the farm continue.

A “Top Five Dylan Bundy Moments” piece may lack any memorable moments from his time with the Baltimore Orioles, but it’s still bittersweet to see Bundy move on to another franchise. Touted as one of the top prospects in all of baseball after the Orioles selected him out of Owasso High School (Oklahoma) with the fourth-overall pick in the 2011 draft, Bundy was unable to overcome numerous injuries and a significant drop in velocity to live up to his full potential.

Despite having multiple years of control attached to him, a strong end to the 2019 season, high strikeout totals, declining home run numbers, and three-straight seasons of 160+ innings under his belt, the return for Bundy was expected to be minimal.

While you won’t find any of the four pitchers coming to Baltimore on the list of Top 100 prospects in baseball, the fact that Mike Elias was able to secure four pieces for Bundy is impressive. We’re many years away from being able to evaluate this trade, but the Orioles are clearly many years away from even thinking about contending and getting four prospects for one 27-year-old with a career ERA of 4.67, 3.02 BB/9 IP and 1.63 HR/9 IP rate gives us a bit of hope of at least one arm working out and developing into something.

So, who did the Orioles get in return for Bundy? Let’s take a quick look at each of these new arms and see what they are bringing to the organization.

RHP Isaac Matson- A 19th-round pick of the Angels out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2017, Matson spent his 2019 season working his way through Advanced-A, Double-A and Triple-A ball out of the bullpen. Of all four prospects coming back in this deal, Matson is the one pitcher who will likely reach the major leagues in 2020.

Across all three levels, Matson went 6-3 with a 2.33 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and a .183 average against. He gave up just four home runs, walked 27, and struck out 110 across 73 innings of work. This includes 19 strikeouts in nine Triple-A innings. It’s very easy to see why Elias was attracted to Matson. His high strikeout totals match the type of production we saw out of most pitchers drafted by Elias in his first go-around with the Orioles.

Matson is a four-pitch reliever (fastball, curveball, slider, change) who sits in the low-90s with his fastball and multiple scouting reports on him coming out of college noted his curveball. His high strikeout totals and consistently low FIP numbers are both encouraging signs that he can become a contributor out of the bullpen later this season.

RHP Zach Peek– Standing at 6’3″ and 190 pounds, Peek was a sixth-round pick out of Winthrop in the 2019 draft and did not pitch in affiliated ball last season. Another arm who throws in the low-90s, Peek was pleased with the development of his offspeed pitches during his time in college, according to this interview with the Roanoke Times. 

During his time at Winthrop, Peek made 52 appearances (33 starts), going 18-9 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. He struck nearly 9/9 IP, including 91 strikeouts in 87 innings during his junior season. He gave up just four home runs over that span. Peek was also effective during his summer ball tours in the Cape Cod and Valley Leagues, striking out a combined 67 in 61 innings.

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RHP Kyle Bradish– A 6’4″ righty out of New Mexico State, Bradish was a fourth-round pick of the Angels back in 2018 and had a decent first full season in professional baseball with the Inland Empire 66ers of the High-A California League in 2019. In 18 starts (24 total appearances), Bradish went 6-7 with a 4.28 ERA (4.08 FIP) and, as you might have guessed, solid strikeout numbers. He fanned 120 over 101 innings.

Despite his high walk totals, multiple scouting reports believe there is potential for him to become a major league piece out of the bullpen. From,

"His fastball sits at 92-93 mph from the rotation, touching 94-95 mph tops, with an odd spin profile that’s firm from the hand with funky cutting action. Bradish shows potential for a big league breaking ball, throwing a hard 80-to-82 mph curve with sharp two-plane finish at its best. His upper-80s changeup needs work and will be less of a hindrance facing lineups once from the ‘pen. Especially with the few extra ticks of velocity that often come with airing it out in short stints, Bradish has the tools of a FV 40 relief arm in the big leagues."

Mike Elias seems to really love Bradish, his funky delivery, solid strikeout numbers, and ability to find success in a tough Cal League. I trust the former scout and his thoughts here.

RHP Kyle Brnovich– Brnovich is a product of Elon in the Colonial Athletic Association, joining a group of recent CAA products to join the organization in pitchers Griffin McLarty (College of Charleston) and Shelton Perkins (James Madison). Brnovich is a 6’2″ righty who I was able to watch live multiple times during his college days.

Like Peek, he did not pitch in affiliated ball this season, but during his time at Elon, Brnovich was 21-10 with a 2.75 ERA and .189 average against. And guess what? He struck out 360 hitters in 281 total innings.

He has a low-velocity fastball but a highly-touted curveball which he used to slice his way through the CAA. Here’s a clip of him I got while at the CAA tournament this year.

The Baltimore Orioles were able to get a lot more for Bundy than they did for Jonathan Villar (I know, totally different situations), which doesn’t leave me frustrated at moving another veteran. It’s hard to say “trust the process” when the major league roster is on pace to be void of any major league talent, but selling Bundy now for four arms is a lot better than trading him for two 18-year-old from the Dominican Summer League next year.

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Let’s hope at least one of these arms pans out into something of value! In the meantime, we wish Bundy all the best in his new adventures.