My Sunday With Bundy
By Stan "The Fan" Charles
In keeping with the workload the Baltimore Orioles are placing on uber-prospect pitcher Dylan Bundy, this story will be short -- no longer than five innings.
My options May 20 were to stay home and watch the NCAA men's lacrosse quarterfinals from Philadelphia on my TV, go see the Orioles' Wei Yin-Chen pitch against the Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasberg in person or TV or see Bundy up close when the Delmarva Shorebirds visited the Hagerstown Suns (a Washington Nationals farm club).
I opted for the last item and headed for Hagerstown.
I noticed Bundy does what only a few other pitchers do, wearing a single digit-uniform number (No. 7). The only pitcher I can recall seeing do that is Toronto's Kyle Drabek (No. 4).
Much more important is his physique. Bundy possesses tree-trunk legs, wide shoulders and that Brett Favre look. Overall, he is built for stardom.
When it was time for him to actually face hitters, he retired 12 batters in a row. Some hit the ball reasonably well -- he had only three strikeouts during those four innings.
Boxing fans can understand this next observation: when Mike Tyson was at his peak, maybe his key ingredient above and beyond his punch was the fear factor he instilled in his opponents. Bundy has ample amounts of that at play here.
The inning that was most remarkable was the fifth inning, when he faced some adversity. Cleanup hitter Matthew Skole lined the first pitch of Bundy's final inning into the right-field corner for a leadoff double. With the Suns down, 3-0, outfielder Steven Souza laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Skole to third, with one out.
To think how flattering that is, to have a team down by three playing for a single run … it's just not done. Then again, Bundy has yet to allow an earned run this season. The next batter was the designated hitter, J.P. Ramirez, who has just joined the Suns. He was plunked on the first pitch. There was nothing scary, but it seemed like some payback for bunting.
First baseman Brett Newsome stepped up to plate, the opposite of Bundy -- 26 years old and playing Single-A ball. Bundy struck him out on four pitches. That left runners on first and third with two outs, and the batter was .148-hitting catcher Cole Leonida, who had struck out 25 times during his last 61 at bats.
Bundy got ahead of Leonida, 0-2. The next pitch was grounded meekly to shortstop Mychal Givens, who calmly tossed to second baseman Sammie Starr for the inning-ending force-out.
The Orioles stuck to their guns and did not bring out Bundy for any more innings. Shortly after this game, the rumors come out from various sources that shortly, Bundy will take the step to Frederick, and the Orioles made the move on Wednesday.
So, my Sunday with Bundy was over. He and I would have to wait for another day to actually meet. But, the wait will be worthwhile, and Bundy is without a doubt a star in the making. The Orioles are being wise not to overuse him. … Nobody wants Bundy to be a shooting star.
Orioles fans in the vicinity should make their plans now to see him, once he comes to Frederick. Oh, he'll let up a few runs at Frederick … but he should continue to dominate. He just may be the best pitching prospect the black and orange have ever had.
Posted May 23, 2012