Baltimore Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy is without question one of the top prospects in all of baseball and arguably the best pitching prospect in the game. The 20 year old has yet to throw a pitch this season thanks to what has been described as “flexor mass tightness” in his right elbow. The team shut him down in mid-March, hoping that rest would be enough to prevent any serious concerns but it would seem that may not be the case, according to MLB’s official Twitter account.
#Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy will see Dr. James Andrews Tuesday for second opinion after discomfort while throwing off flat ground.
— MLB (@MLB) April 23, 2013
Bundy threw off of flat ground on Monday, once again experiencing discomfort in his right elbow. Following the shortened session he asked the team to see famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion, according to MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli. It remains to be seen what kind of shape Bundy’s arm may be in, but the team remains optimistic based on some quotes from manager Buck Showalter, passed along by Ghiroli:
He still feels discomfort there. He took his MRI and everything with him, I’m sure. I don’t know if Dr. Andrews will take another one or not. But we’re very supportive of it. He wanted to get a second opinion just to be sure, because he hoped it would be resolved quicker than this.
Taken with the 4th overall pick in the 2011 Draft, Bundy’s ascension through the Baltimore system has been rapid. He pitched at three levels (Class-A, High-A, and Double-A) last season, throwing a total of 103.2 IP over 23 starts. He’d post a 9-3 record, 2.08 ERA, and 0.916 WHIP to go along with 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 K/9. He impressed at every level, finally earning a surprise promotion to the Major Leagues in September. Bundy would appear in just two games for the Orioles before the season concluded, facing six batters across 1.2 IP – allowing just a hit and a walk.
Should Dr. Andrews find more substantial damage to Bundy’s arm, the consequences could have been more severe than some realized initially. Initial MRI results failed to reveal any structural damage in Bundy’s elbow, suggesting that the discomfort merely stems from a muscular problem. However, should more damage be discovered it could be very likely that Bundy will be forced to undergo Tommy John Surgery, which would end his season before it begins. Grantland’s Rany Jazayerli questioned this afternoon whether Bundy would continue to accumulate service time if he winds up on the DL for the remainder of the season, considering he finished the 2012 campaign in the Major Leagues. Given the intrinsic details to MLB’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, for Bundy to accumulate a full year’s worth of service time while on the shelf would be highly detrimental to Baltimore’s future as he’d reach free agency a year earlier than expected. However, as some astute followers quickly pointed out, Bundy had been officially optioned to Double-A on March 17th when he was cut from the team’s Spring Training camp. The injury concerns began just days later. If Bundy is to miss significant time this season, he’ll do so on the Minor League DL as opposed to the Major League one, removing the service time concern.