Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy is arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball and has advanced to Double-A as a 19-year-old after beginning the season at low Single-A.
Jim Thome was on hand for the 2011 first-round pick’s Double-A debut earlier this week, sitting behind home plate while on the disabled list for a herniated disk in his neck, and the future Hall of Famer came away extremely impressed:
He might be one of the best young pitchers I’ve seen in quite a while. He’s got so much upside to him. He looks like a great pitcher. He’s got a great arm, and it’s fun. It’s fun going down there seeing him. He’s obviously got a big, bright career ahead of him.
Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that Thome made the trek to Bowie at the request of Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who wanted a first-hand report. And here’s the thing about Thome being so impressed by Bundy: It was one of his worst starts, as he allowed three runs on five hits and three walks in 5.1 innings.
Overall this season–his first as a pro–Bundy has a 2.01 ERA and 106/22 K/BB ratio in 90 innings.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.