Dylan Bundy was the Orioles’ first round pick — the fourth pick overall — in the 2011 draft. In 2012 the Orioles moved him quickly through three minor league levels and gave him two late season appearances out of the big club’s bullpen. He excelled that year and, heading into the 2013 season was considered the number two prospect in the entire game by Baseball America and MLB.com. He was thought of as a top-5 prospect by basically everyone else.
Then the injuries happened.
Bundy missed all of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery. Following his recovery he pitched only nine games in 2014 and then only eight games in 2015, thanks in part to shoulder problems. Heading into this season the Orioles’ expectations for him were likely nil, even if they were hopeful that the still young pitcher could make a nice career for himself. He’s just 23, after all.
It’s been a totally different year for Bundy this season. He began 2016 in the Orioles bullpen, and he’s done a nice job. He’s tossed 38 innings in 22 appearances as the Orioles’ long man, allowing 13 earned runs (3.08 ERA) and striking out 32 while walking 12. In his most recent outing on July 6, 2016, Bundy retired all seven Dodgers he faced in two and a third innings.
The Orioles, while possessing a nice offense and while sitting in first place in the AL East, have some serious starting pitching problems. Today they’ll give Bundy his first ever major league start, no doubt seeing if they can rectify their rotation woes internally, for free, before wading out into the trade market. He’ll face the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:10 PM Eastern time.
I don’t root for the Orioles, but I do root for guys who’ve had a rough go of it like Bundy has. Here’s hoping the once promising prospect has put his injury history behind him and can put together something approaching the kind of career so many anticipated for him four or five years ago.
The rest of today’s matchups:
Baltimore Orioles (Dylan Bundy) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi), 1:10 PM EDT, Tropicana Field
Chicago White Sox (Jacob Turner) @ Los Angeles Angels (Jered Weaver), 3:35 PM EDT, Angel Stadium of Anaheim
San Francisco Giants (Johnny Cueto) @ San Diego Padres (Edwin Jackson), 4:40 PM EDT, Petco Park