Dylan Bundy is Really Good, not Matt Hobgood
It certainly is a mistake to read too much into the first few games of a season or a player’s career. But it’s hard to ignore what Dylan Bundy (follow him on Twitter @Dylan_Bundy) has done right out of the gate here in 2012.
The No. 1o overall prospect and No. 2 on the Orioles’ Top 20 has made just two appearances at three innings apiece. But it’s hard to find anyone else who’s begun a career in more exciting fashion than what Bundy has done with his first six professional innings.
Bundy, the No. 4 pick in last year’s Draft (Matt Hobgood, btw, was the No. 5 pick overall, by the Orioles, in 2009) has faced 18 batters in those six innings and retired all 18. Not a hit, nary a baserunner to be found. Of those 18 outs, 12 have come by way of the strikeout. In total, he’s thrown only 14 pitches.
Ok, that last stat I made up. But come on, it’s hard not to be impressed, right? Yes, Bundy had a reputation of being an advanced high school guy, one who might move faster than most prep arms. But you think Orioles fans were excited about him before the year started? If he keeps this up, they’ll become apoplectic. People ask if he’s good enough to make it to the big leagues this year. That’s not going to happen, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll stay too long in the South Atlantic League if this continues. The Orioles will — and should — be patient, but something tells me he’s going to push them pretty hard.(Editor’s note: Check out a recent blog post on our new prospect blog, The Futurists, about the Bundy Hype.)
It got us thinking (us being myself and MLB.com colleague Jason Ratliff) about past high school phenoms coming out of the Draft. We had a theory that there were few, if any, high school pitchers who began their first full season of pro ball in as dominating a fashion as Bundy has. We couldn’t go all the way back — we don’t have game-by-game information in the Minors prior to 1999 (I was curious to see what Dwight Gooden did in his first 2 outings. In his first pro season, his only one in the Minors, he struck out 300. He also won 19 games while throwing 191 innings and completing 10 games — I guess monitoring pitch counts wasn’t such a big deal in 1983. Oh, he also walked 112). So starting with the 1999 Draft, here’s a partial list of high school pitchers taken in the top 10 of the Draft who got off to solid, if not quite Bundy-esque starts the following season. Archie Bradley, the fellow Oklahoman from last year’s Draft, is trying to keep up. Zack Greinke, who made his full-season debut in the Class A Advanced Carolina League, is the one who comes closest in my book.
Josh Beckett (No. 2, Marlins): 9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 12 K
Bobby Bradley (No. 8, Pirates): 11 IP, 8 H, 3 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 21 K
Mike Stodolka (No. 4, Royals): 10 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
Zack Greinke (No. 6, Royals): 11 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K (in Carolina League)
John Danks (No. 9, Rangers): 6 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 12 K
Clayton Kershaw (No. 7, Dodgers): 7 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 9 BB, 9 K
Madison Bumgarner (No. 10, Giants): 8 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
Jameson Taillon (No. 2, Pirates): 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Archie Bradley (No. 7, Diamondbacks): 11 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 11 K