Although the Baltimore Orioles are struggling this season, Dylan Bundy has emerged as one of the top pitchers in baseball.
The front office of the Baltimore Orioles and their fans are on two completely different pages. In fact, they aren’t even reading the same book. Dan Duquette and company believe that this Orioles team is capable of winning in 2018. It’s safe to say that the vast majority of fans would wholeheartedly disagree.
The trade pieces are there, namely, Manny Machado, should the organization decide to tear down and rebuild. Caleb Joseph is another name that could draw considerable value with his plus-defense and elite play-calling. There is one piece, however, that is untouchable: Dylan Bundy.
Dylan Bundy is the ace that Baltimore has been waiting on since the days of Mike Mussina. The major league leader in WAR among pitchers (1.4), Bundy has worked a 1.42 ERA/1.98 FIP/2.95 SIERA line through his first 31 innings.
He’s putting up career-high numbers in nearly every statistical category. Bundy’s groundball rate currently sits at 38.5%, he’s walked just 7% of hitters while striking out 31%, and opposing batters are hitting a measly .218 off him.
Don’t call it a breakout. Bundy has been solid since joining the big leagues full-time in 2016. One of the biggest factors contributing to his dominant start to 2018 is his slider.
This pitch chart from his last start against the Cleveland Indians is all the proof you need that Bundy’s slider is now an elite pitch. Look at all of the swinging strikes on balls well out of the strike zone. Cleveland hitters whiffed on his slider 44% of the time Friday evening
As evidenced by his slider heat map below, Bundy owns the bottom, glove side part of the plate.
Opposing batters are hitting a microscopic .122 against Bundy’s slider. It’s good for the eighth-lowest average in the league, in front of guys like Clayton Kershaw, Luis Severino and Chris Archer.
As the rest of the Orioles rotational talent continues to dissipate into oblivion, Dylan Bundy holds strong. He’s given up one home run all season; the rest of the starting rotation has combined for 22. The season is only 22 games old.
Will the offense turn things around before it’s too late? Who knows. What we do know is that Dylan Bundy is the franchise ace and the piece to build around when the inevitable tear-down occurs.
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