As we all know, Dylan Bundy had Tommy John surgery two seasons ago after a spectacular debut season in the minors in 2012. While there is never any certainty for pitchers recovering from elbow or shoulder injuries, the recent success of Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg should provide O's fans with some hope.
There has been a minor setback as Bundy was recently placed on the disabled list due to shoulder soreness. Luckily, the MRI has revealed no structural damage and he should be able to return in late June. Let's look into how Bundy has performed when he is healthy.
Bundy has been handled very carefully in AA Bowie this season. He has started in eight games, but he only totaled 22 innings. He is pitching less than 3 innings per start by design. It is almost identical to the way he pitched when he started his pro career in 2012. In 2012, he had eight starts in A Delmarva to begin the year and totaled only 30 innings as well.
He has been excellent in those 22 innings, at least in areas where we should be most concerned about. He has struck out 27.8% of the batters he faced, compared to the league average of 18.2%. He has also limited walks, walking only 5.6% of the batters, relative to the league average of 8.4%. This was a concern during spring training as he walked 6 batters in 6 innings in spring training. His superb peripherals have not been reflected in his ERA, which sits at a modest 3.68, mainly due to a BABIP of .356. We should be past the point where we evaluate a pitcher only on his ERA.
More encouragingly, there have been reports that Bundy's velocity has risen over the year, from low-90s in April to mid-to-high-90s in the more recent starts. He is slowly regaining his fastball velocity from prior to his surgery. While the temporary setback is frustrating and it seems unlikely for Bundy to reach the majors this season, it does not really affect Bundy's long-term outlook. The fact that he is slowly getting his stuff back and has performed well when healthy should be positive news. Maybe finally, a top O's pitching prospect will be able to excel in O's uniform.