Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Bundy is showing why he is the staff ace

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 9: Starting pitcher Dylan Bundy
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 9: Starting pitcher Dylan Bundy /

Baltimore Orioles starter Dylan Bundy continues to show why he is the ace of the pitching staff.

Dylan Bundy, 25, has been in the Baltimore Orioles organization since being drafted in 2011. Taken in the first round, he was the fourth overall selection. That first-round pick was higher than Astros outfielder George Springer, Yankees pitcher Sonny Gray and Rockies shortstop, Trevor Story.

It wasn’t an easy road to the majors for Bundy. Of course, the elbow injury that required Tommy John reconstructive surgery hindered his big league debut. However, now that he’s here, he’s showing why the Orioles drafted him. And, why he is the staff ace.

It feels like Bundy’s major league debut was just a few seasons ago, but it’s longer than that. On September 23, 2012, in a game at Fenway Park, 19-year-old Dylan Matthew Bundy made his big league debut against the Red Sox. Entering in the 8th inning, he faced two batters retiring them both.

He did get into another game two nights later back in Baltimore, with much of the same result. He faced four batters, throwing 22 pitches and allowing a walk and a hit. Against the Blue Jays, he finished the ninth inning as the Orioles lost that game, 4-to-0.

Bundy wouldn’t be seen on a big league mound again until April 7, 2016.

Second debut – from the bullpen

Making his second big league debut, Bundy was slotted in the bullpen to begin the 2016 season. Just wanting to ease him back into it and build his innings up, manager Buck Showalter had said, “it’s some uncharted territory.”

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In speaking with The Baltimore Sun in 2016, Showalter continued,

"“I’ll tell you, it’s like a Rule-5 guy. You take him, they’re going to pitch. He goes north, he’s pitching, and the other team is going to tell us whether he’s very good or not. The toughest thing for us will be if he’s healthy and not effective. It’s not good.”"

But, Bundy pitched well. In 22 bullpen appearances and 38 innings, he pitched to a 3.08 ERA, while striking out 32 batters. Opponents hit .308 against him, but he threw strikes. In fact, 65% of his pitches were strikes.

He was able to pitch well enough to be moved into the rotation, and on July 17, 2016, he started first big league game. But, it’s probably a start he’d like to forget. After just three-and-a-third, Bundy surrendered four runs on five hits on only 70 pitches.

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Altogether, Bundy started 14 games in the 2016 season, pitching 71.2 innings and allowing 36 runs, good for a 4.52 ERA.

Dylan Bundy becomes “Dealin’ Dylan.”

Last season, Bundy was able to drop his ERA to 4.24. He also increased his innings to 169.2, starting 28 games.

The highlight of his career thus far, came on August 29 in a one-hit, complete game shutout against the Mariners. Bundy went the distance on 116 pitches, a career high. He struck out12, another career high and walked just two.

Eight times in 2017, Bundy struck out eight or more batters. Notably, he did it four-out-of-five times in August alone. In four starts from August 7th, through the 29th, he struck out ten, ten, eight and 12, respectively.

Throwing a mid-to-upper 90-mph fastball, Bundy showed he fully recovered from the reconstructive elbow surgery.

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Even with a tough luck loss last night, Dylan Bundy is making it quite easy to see how he obtained the nickname, “Dealin’.’ He’s pitched 20-innings, struck out 25 batters, allowed just two runs in three outings and has an ERA of 1.35.

Yeah, the staff ace is dealing.