Tha Sports Junkies 101

Dylan Bundy Brings Baltimore Back into World Series Discussion

Keith Allison/Via


If Dylan Bundy can sustain his recent dominance, then the Orioles have an ace who can carry them through October.

In 2011, he was the fourth overall selection in an absolutely loaded 2011 draft class that also saw Gerrit Cole, Francisco Lindor, George Springer, Jose Fernandez and Sonny Gray drafted.  Just one year later, he was pitching for the Baltimore Orioles as a 19 year-old.  Headed into the 2013 season, Baseball America pegged him as the second best prospect in baseball.

The world was in the palm of Dylan Bundy‘s hands.

Bundy reported to camp in 2013, hoping to make the big league roster permanently.  Unfortunately for the Oklahoma native, he started experiencing forearm soreness.  Bundy was immediately shut down for the spring and started receiving treatment.  Even though the Orioles were in contend-now mode following their 93 win 2012 campaign, manager Buck Showalter was not about to sacrifice his future for the present.  Bundy, who was 20 at the time, eventually resumed throwing, but the result was less than satisfactory.  Baltimore sent Bundy to the doctor that no pitcher ever wants to see, Dr. James Andrews.  Bundy was diagnosed with a torn ulnar-collateral ligament, and he would need to undergo Tommy John Surgery.  Reluctantly, the Orioles top prospect agreed that surgery was his best option, and he underwent the operation on June 27, 2013.

Less than one year after his surgery took place, Dylan Bundy was pitching on a mound in a professional game.  On June 15, 2014, the returning phenom hurled five innings of one-run ball for Aberdeen.  Feeling good once again, Bundy was on pace to potentially rejoin the Orioles in September and then the postseason.  Now ranked as the 15th overall prospect by the same scouts that listed him at number two the year prior, things were still looking up for the 21 year-old.

It may have seemed that things could not get any worse for Bundy, but they did.  Back in Double-A, the former top prospect was coming back into form as a starter.  Eight starts into his comeback season, Bundy suffered yet another injury, this time to his throwing shoulder.  He was shut down yet again, with no hopes of reaching the majors in 2015.  There was even talk that Bundy was done with baseball.  Some people believed that his persistent arm injuries were too much to overcome, and that his hopes of emerging as a superstar were on life support.  Many were already writing the ending to Dylan Bundy‘s story, but really, it was just beginning.

Bundy returned in 2016 with high hopes of finally rejoining the team he had last played for in 2012.  Buck Showalter decided that Bundy could help his club, so he assigned the 23 year-old to pitch out of the bullpen.  In June, Bundy really hit his stride in relief, allowing just two earned runs in over fourteen innings pitched.  His strong performance did not go unnoticed by management.  The Orioles had enjoyed tremendous success on offense, but they lacked consistent starting pitching.  Buck Showalter informed Bundy that he would be moving into the starting rotation.  His first career start for the Orioles wasn’t very pretty; he allowed three home runs to the Tampa Bay Rays in only three and one-thirds innings.

Despite struggling in his first start, the adjustment period was extremely short for Bundy.  In his next start against the Cleveland Indians, Bundy struck out five over five innings, allowing just one unearned run.  On July 27, he only allowed three baserunners to the Colorado Rockies, while striking out eight in under six innings pitched.  Suddenly, Dylan Bundy was putting everything together.  But it only got better for Bundy.  In his next start, the fourth overall pick showed just why the Orioles selected him so high in the 2011 Draft.

Going up a dangerous Texas Rangers’ lineup that had just added Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Beltran to the fray, Bundy flashed his tantalizing potential.  The emerging star tossed seven shutout innings while striking out seven.  Bundy allowed just one hit in the game, and it was fairly obvious that Texas was over-matched at the plate.  This was exactly what former Orioles’ General Manager Andy MacPhail envisioned when he selected Bundy out of high school in 2011.  The potential has always been there, but setbacks have just delayed the dominance.

Many baseball analysts criticized Dan Duquette, current GM of the Orioles, for not making a trade to acquire a top starter at the trade deadline.  Well, Duquette found his ace, and he did not have to trade anything to get him.  After years of patience, the Baltimore Orioles are reaping the rewards of their former first-rounders’ success.  Dylan Bundy has arrived.  You may not realize it yet, but once Bundy is slicing through the best lineups in the league come October, the entire baseball world will be put on notice.  Paired with their thumping lineup, Dylan Bundy is the ace Baltimore has missed.  With their ace at full strength, 2016 will not result in another one-and-done in the postseason.  Led by Bundy, they have a pretty good chance to go out and win the World Series.