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Is Dylan Bundy’s Slider the Key to his Success?

Dylan Bundy kkthemook/ via


Is Dylan Bundy’s Slider the Key to his Success?

Baltimore Orioles Pitching Staff

The Baltimore Orioles have been struggling as a pitching staff this year in 2017. As a team, the Orioles have an ERA of 4.30 and an AL worst 1.45 WHIP. One of the main reasons the pitching staff may be struggling is the left forearm strain causing Zach Britton to miss the majority of the season.  Fortunately, the Baltimore Orioles have been enjoying a huge breakout performance from Dylan Bundy.

Britton came on strong last year as one of the best closers in the league, leading the Orioles and the MLB with 47 saves. Britton posted a 2-1 record with an ERA of 0.54 and WHIP of 0.836 in 69 games last year. Safe to say, Britton was a huge loss for the Orioles at the beginning of the 2017 season.

Dylan Bundy

Bundy was selected as the 4th overall pick out of high school in 2011. He was touted as one of the best pitching prospects coming out of the 2011 draft, but injuries soon plagued the hard-throwing right handed pitcher. Bundy came into the minor leagues as a 19 year old, and dominated A and AA as a rookie. Bundy posted an impressive line during his rookie season with a 9-3 record, 2.08 ERA, and 119 strikeouts in 103.2 innings pitched.

After an impressive rookie campaign, Bundy was called up to the Orioles at the end of the season to throw 1.2 innings without giving up a run. After a dominating start to his career, Bundy missed the entire 2013 season with Tommy John surgery. Bundy then missed a significant amount of games over the next two seasons with calcification in his right shoulder and elbow tightness in his throwing arm.

Since 2015, Bundy seems to have left the injuries in his past and was able to finally resume his MLB career with the Orioles. In 2016, Bundy spent time both in the bullpen and as a starter ending with a 4.02 ERA and a 10-6 record. In 2017, Bundy has been nothing short of spectacular through his first 11 starts. With a 6-3 record and 2.89 ERA through 11 games, Bundy is proving the Orioles made the right decision drafting him 6 years ago.

But what is attributable to this change?

Dylan Bundy introduced a slider to his already dangerous arsenal this year. The slider has proven successful thus far considering Bundy throws his slider 21% of the time. With the slider, Bundy is able to throw less fastballs than in previous years. To illustrate, Bundy has thrown his fastball 50% of the time compared to 62% in 2016. This change has been huge for Bundy especially with his dip in fastball velocity from almost 94 MPH last year to 92 MPH this year.

This decrease in velocity and usage for his fastball, while lowering his ERA, shows how successful Bundy’s slider has become. As Bundy continues to throw and work on his slider, the movement and control of the pitch will only get better; And if Bundy can gain velocity back on his fastball to accompany it with his devastating slider, he will be able to dominate MLB hitters.