Bundy impresses in Double-A debut

Orioles prospect gives up three runs, five hits in 5 1/3 innings

By David Driver / Special to MLB.com | August 14, 2012 8:33 PM ET

BOWIE, Md. -- Dylan Bundy began the season at Class A Delmarva of the South Atlantic League. On Tuesday, he made his first start at Double-A Bowie. Some Baltimore fans already wouldn't mind seeing the Orioles' top pitching prospect at Camden Yards next month.

"I am not worried about September at all. I am worried about August," Bundy said after his Baysox swept a doubleheader from the Erie SeaWolves at Prince George's Stadium. "I would not say I am close (to the Majors). I am two levels away. I just have to progress here at Bowie."

Bundy pitched into the sixth inning and picked up the win before 2,982 fans, most of whom did not stick around to see Tim Bascom -- Baltimore's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2011 -- help shut down Erie in the nightcap. Bowie won the first game, 5-3, and the second, 6-0.

Bundy, who does not turn 20 until November, gave up three runs -- two earned -- on five hits while walking three over 5 1/3 innings. He allowed three walks and three of the hits were doubles.

"I was real excited. My brother got to pitch here," Bundy said of his older brother, Bobby, who is on the disabled list with Bowie and was not in attendance. Hitters "have more experience at the Double-A level than I have. They make adjustments inning by inning and pitch by pitch. I have to make adjustments the same way. If I cut down to three walks (per game), I can go seven innings."

"I thought he competed real well," Bowie's manager Gary said. "He made some quality pitches that were not called strikes. Overall, it was a pretty good job. I was pretty pleased with what he did."

Bowie pitching coach Kennie Steenstra felt Bundy's changeup was his second-best pitch after his fastball, and then his curve.

"I was impressed with the strikes he threw," Steenstra said. "He pounded the zone. He kept his composure well."

Bundy even impressed Erie manager Chris Cron, who has more than 1,000 career minor league wins.

"I have seen a lot of guys make that jump. You saw poise and you saw a lot of ability," said Cron. "It is a big step for anyone. It seems like he handled it well."

"It was possibly a tighter zone than normal," he added. "But it did not seem to bother him. You read the clippings and then you see him do all of those things. You know he is bringing a pretty good resume to the table. We were just not able to get that big hit when we needed it."

Bundy, drafted out of Owasso High in Oklahoma as the fourth overall pick in 2011, is the top pitching prospect in the Orioles' system and MLB.com's No. 7 overall.

The right-hander began the night with a 95-mph strike to Erie's Jamie Johnson, who eventually grounded out. Niuman Romero then flew out to center and Detroit's top prospect Nick Castellanos also lofted one to center to end the first.

Bundy notched his first strikeout to start the second against Jordan Lennerton, who entered the game with 20 homers. Bundy got Avisail Garcia on a grounder and then Daniel Fields lined out on the first pitch to end the second.

Bundy relied on a fastball in the mid-90s, but had trouble finding the zone with the curve as two such pitches stayed high in the first two innings. He gave up his first Eastern League run in the third when Brandon Douglas led off with a double and later scored on a groundout to short by James McCann, the Erie catcher and No. 9 hitter who entered the game with average of .173.

Bundy gave up an earned run in the fourth. Lennerton doubled and scored when shortstop Jonathan Schoop made a throwing error on a high one-bouncer by Douglas.

Bundy walked two in the fifth, but escaped further damage as he got Lennerton on a hard grounder to second to end the inning. His night came to end after Daniel Fields stroked a one-out double to right in the sixth.

Bundy received a nice round of applause from the fans as he walked off the mound and gave way to lefty reliever Mike Belfiore, who fanned Douglas for the second out before pinch-hitter Rawley Bishop hit a single to score Fields. On the night Bundy threw 96 pitches, with 56 for strikes.

Cron said the SeaWolves were well aware of Bundy, who was 7-3 with an ERA of 1.92 in 19 starts between Delmarva and Class A Advanced Frederick. "We all know who they are. We know his resume," Cron said.

In brief

In the crowd: Those on hand for Bundy's start included Jim Thome, who's on the disabled list with the Orioles; Tripp Norton, the Orioles' director of baseball administration; and Dean Albany, a longtime scout for Baltimore. Thome signed a few autographs as the three left together in the middle of the fourth.

Eager fans: Chuck Kellum and Tim Heppding of nearby Pasadena, Md., were standing outside the stadium gates more than one hour before the first pitch. "That is why we are here. We came to see Bundy," said Kellum, wearing a Frederick polo shirt. Both men were in Frederick when Bundy made his first start for the Keys in late May. Is Bundy being rushed by the Orioles? "I think they are doing it right," Kellum said. Added Heppding: "People thought they were rushing (Manny) Machado. Look what he did." Machado was with Bowie all season before he was promoted to the Orioles last week and hit three homers in his first week.

David Driver is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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