Dylan’s Weird Year
Dylan Bundy has had a very odd career. From the beginning nothing has been plain and simple. He signed a major league contract straight out of the draft. Something that was seen as a good deal for everyone at the time. Touted as perhaps the most polished high school starting pitcher of all time, three years would be plenty to get him ready for the major leagues. He came up briefly in 2012 to pitch out of the bullpen as a 19 year old.
Then, as so often happens to pitchers, his elbow started barking at him and he had to get Tommy John surgery. His struggles have been immense since the surgery, never quite feeling the same as before. Fast forward to now, at least somewhat healthy and that major league contract came back to bite everyone.
The Orioles have to carry Bundy now that he is out of options and he is not rehabilitated enough to start. Therefore, we get bullpen Bundy. But, not fully loaded Bundy because his arm hurts when he throws his cutter and/or slider. Considering his cutter has been touted as his best pitch, that’s worrisome.
As it stands, he’s more of a fastball curve ball multi-inning reliever who gets his work in as he tries to reassemble the pitcher he was out of the pitcher he is now. However, he has been looking better of late. He’s had six innings in June and six strike outs. Not a big sample size, but much better than earlier in the year so I wanted to see why.
Oh, that’s why. In case you were wondering, that is Bundy’s month by month fastball velocity chart for 2016. As you can see, it goes up. From 94 mph in April to 96 mph in June. That will certainly help and that is the Bundy everyone dreamed about right after his draft.
It’s important to remember that he is still recovering and gaining strength. This is not the best situation, but for now at least some progress is being made.
Jonathan Schoop is Pretty Good
Jonathan Schoop is a fixture in the everyday lineup. He’s brought his line up to .268/.299/.463 in 2016 and is continuing to blister the baseball and play solid up the middle defense. I wanted to play my favorite arbitrary endpoint game and see where Schoop was over his last 162 games.
Well, his line is .271/.303/.468 good for a 106 wRC+ over that period of time. By the way, his last 162 stretches back to September 15th, 2014 due to his knee injury last season.
Unless Schoop starts to make more contact or starts to walk more, that line is probably his ceiling. Maybe something around a 110 wRC+ at his very best. But, that kind of line with his solid defense gives the Orioles exactly what they need. Someone who can play everyday give value to the roster at a low cost.
The Infield Defense
I wrote a while back about how the outfield defense for the Orioles had been atrociously bad. It had been and pointing that out brought out some angst from the commentariat. To be fair, the Orioles won 11-3 the day before while hitting six home runs.
Not many were in the mood to hear about outfield defense. Regardless, the outfield defense has still been bad and ranks 29th overall in baseball with a -10.3 UZR/150 (you can read more about UZR/150 here).
But, I wondered, about the infield defense because the Orioles overall defensive rating was not quite as bad. It’s harder to find because the Fangraphs leader boards do not allow to easily find the split for just the infield. But, using the magical powers of Excel, I can find it easily enough.
By subtracting the total team UZR/150 by the outfield's UZR/150 you basically get the infield UZR/150. This number still includes the pitcher and catcher, but I don’t have the kind of time to separate all that out.
The Orioles infield overall has a 5.8 UZR/150 which is the second best number in baseball behind the Cleveland Indians who have a 7.2 UZR/150 for their infield. It makes sense that the Orioles defensive strength would be the infield, but I was surprised to find just how good it is. I guess when you have Manny Machado and no one else does it helps a lot.