Orioles stud prospect Dylan Bundy was almost literally unhittable at low Single-A to begin the season, throwing 30 innings with a 0.00 ERA and 40/2 K/BB ratio while holding opponents to a .053 batting average.
That earned him a promotion to high Single-A and Bundy has continued to pitch well there with a 23/6 K/BB ratio in 19 innings–particularly considering he’s just 19 years old–but he’s also allowed at least one run in all four of his starts and yesterday struggled for the first time as a pro.
Bundy failed to make it out of the fourth inning while allowing four runs, including his third homer in four starts, and now has a 4.42 ERA at high Single-A.
None of which changes the fact that he’s among the truly elite handful of prospects in all of baseball, but it does show why teams don’t just rush a prospect through the farm system when he dominates at the lower levels. Bundy still projects as a future ace and still figures to be in the majors by his 21st birthday, but it turns out he’s also human.
Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?
Now, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Fighters are set to post Shotei Otani following the 2017 season. Passan says that his sources have told him that there are potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Shohei Otani and he links a Japanese article from Sponichi which says the Fighters would post him after the 2017 season.
It’d be interesting to see what that loophole is. Without knowing the exact terms of the CBA on this score it’s impossible to know, but one possibility is that there are different rules applicable to those with professional experience in other countries as opposed to amateur free agents.
Whatever the case, the notion that we could see Otani in the U.S. at age 23 or 24 is pretty exciting.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.