Bundys pushing each other to Majors

Baltimore prospects lead group of same-organization siblings

By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com | January 24, 2012 5:27 AM ET

When the Baltimore Orioles plucked him out of Northeastern Oklahoma's Sperry High School in the 2008 Draft's eighth round, Bobby Bundy heard the hype. Everyone within earshot told him he was a great pitcher.

But all the talk about Dylan Bundy is much, much louder.

Bobby, 22, has taken a backseat to his 100-mph-capable, 19-year-old younger brother, the fourth overall draftee in 2011, and as of this month, MLB.com's fifth-best righty pitching prospect in the game. He is well aware that his little bro beat him to Baltimore's 40-man roster -- the result of signing a Major League contract -- and isn't surprised to learn that Dylan has his own Wikipedia page.

Bobby isn't resigned, however, to reaching the Majors second.

"There's always competition first. In the same sense, it's support as well. It's back and forth," Bobby said by phone from his home state. "We both push each other really hard. ... I guess sometimes I notice [the uneven comparisons to Dylan], but I don't let it bother me at all. We're both humble guys, and we know Dylan is blessed."

The Bundys are among a handful of blood-related ballplayers who will play in the same Minor League organization in 2012. Of the bunch, they are the most likely to play together in the bigs one day.

While Dylan has yet to throw his first professional pitch, it's already clear that, in many ways, he's a product of his brother.

"Bobby, his senior year [at Sperry High], he was the pitcher, he was the famous one. That was a big motivation," Dylan said. "I was the freshman. I was more of a hitter back then, and I thought I had a chance to be a hitter."

And when Bobby was tabbed by the O's with pick No. 236 in the Draft, one of Dylan's first thoughts: "I, of course, want to beat that."

This ambition was also obvious to club scouts. "He was the most confident player on the field as a ninth-grader," said fellow Oklahoman Joe Jordan, who evaluated and eventually drafted both Bundys as the Orioles' scouting director before shifting to the Phillies' front office in October. "It was, 'Oh, great. We'll see what happens; it's four years from now.' You're not really scouting guys hard when they're in the ninth grade."

After transferring to the more-competitive Owasso High and honing his skills at the Dallas Baseball Academy of Texas -- the same club Bobby had joined as a homesick 17-year-old -- Dylan re-emerged on Baltimore's radar. And because the O's suffered the fourth-worst record (66-96) in 2010, giving them the fourth-highest Draft slot, beckoning another Bundy became more and more realistic. (Plus, Bobby enjoying a career-best 3.65 ERA at Class A Delmarva that same year was a good indicator that these prep pitchers had real potential.)

"When Dylan and I sat down and talked, my face-to-face with him and his mother and father, he looked right at me and said, 'I want to be an Oriole, and I want to pitch in a big league rotation with my brother,'" Jordan recalled. "It was one of those moments in our business you don't ever forget, because he was 100 percent sincere, and he believed that his brother was going to pitch in the big leagues. Obviously, he believes he's going to do the same.

"These guys are Minor League prospects, and they have work to do, challenges to overcome; and no one more than me will be watching and rooting for 'em."

Staying true to that famous Bundy family work ethic, the next-of-kin hurlers have trained together at Dynamic Sports Development in Tulsa this offseason. (Bobby, who never collected a check like Dylan's $4 million signing bonus, also serves as a personal trainer at Fitness Together in Owasso "to earn a few extra bucks.")

The advice Bobby most harps on Dylan hearing: Get rest on those bus trips because it's going to be a long, long season. Of course, neither knows what part of the countryside Dylan will be staring down between Minor League cities in 2012.

"I have no clue what the [Orioles'] plan is for me," Dylan said, "but coming into Spring Training, I'd like to start in A-ball; high-A would be great."

"He's ready for a higher level than he's going to start out at," Bobby said, with more than a hint of pride in his voice. "He's more polished than most guys his age."

Even if Dylan begins his career at Class A Advanced Frederick, a stretch for most first-time pros, he still has to play catch-up with his big brother. Bobby compiled an 11-5 record and a 2.70 ERA in 20 starts for the Keys in 2011, then moved on to Double-A Bowie, where he expects to start next April.

The relatives' race to "The Show" may be more marathon, less sprint.

"Of course I'd like to meet him there or get there right before him, but as long as we're both ready," said Dylan, who also strives to match -- nay, outdo -- his brother at hunting, fishing and even table tennis. "We want the [front office's] decision to be as hard as possible to make, who they choose [to promote] or whatever. We don't want the decision on us; we want it on them.

"We talk about that randomly. Driving down the highway, we talk about it. Pitching in the big leagues? Pitching in the same rotation as brothers? That'd be awesome."

*  *  *

The Bundys appear to sport the same demeanor on the mound. After uber-prospect Bryce Harper blew a kiss toward a pitcher while rounding third base during a home-run trot last June, Dylan told a Baltimore radio station, "If I was pitching the next game, I'd hit him all four at-bats." Added Bobby: "Same thing. The kid can't do that. That was a little over the top."

"Every pitcher should have that mentality, and I think Bobby and I do," Dylan said. "A hitter's not allowed to do that. People make mistakes in the Minor Leagues, and I think Bryce made a mistake."

Speaking of brothers and Bryce, there's also Bryan...

Washington Nationals
Who: Outfielder Bryce Harper, 19, and left-handed pitcher Bryan Harper, 22.

Where: The Harpers, whom the Nationals declined to make available for this story, were born in Las Vegas. They teamed up to help the College of Southern Nevada to the 2010 NJCAA World Series.

When: The Nats made Bryce the No. 1 overall draftee in 2010, then Bryan a 30th-round draftee in 2011. Washington had also selected Bryan out of high school in the 31st round of the 2008 Draft, before the elder Harper went the college route. "We had a lot of interest in Bryan when he was at Southern Nevada. He elected to go to [the University of] South Carolina at that point and probably didn't have the year he hoped to have there," Washington's director of player development Doug Harris said of the 6-foot-5-inch southpaw. "We just felt like it was an opportunity to take a player that we had an interest in the year before and hoping to resurrect him. We valued his ability independent of Bryce, independent of the player's last name. ... I know [Bryce] is excited to have his brother in the organization."

What: Bryce posted an .894 OPS and stole 26 bases in his first 109 pro games -- 37 at Double-A Harrisburg -- last season, while Bryan made two scoreless appearances for the organization's Gulf Coast League affiliate.

Detroit Tigers
Who: Catcher Eric Roof, 25, and designated hitter Shawn Roof, 27. Jonathan Roof, 23, is a shortstop in the Texas Rangers organization. The threesome's father, Gene, and uncles -- Paul, David and Adrian -- also played professionally.

Where: Like Jonathan, Eric was born in Paducah, Ky. and attended Michigan State University. Shawn was born in Champaign and played for the University of Illinois.

When: The Tigers selected Eric in the 2009 Draft's 18th round and Shawn before him in the '07 Draft's 33rd round. Gene is also the organization's base-running and outfield coordinator, but don't assume nepotism: "When you know their family has so much talent, you're still going to take good players," said Detroit's director of player development Dave Owen. "Their talent is going to decide where they're taken [in the Draft]. ... You don't really look at them as being brothers; you look at 'em being ballplayers. If they get to play together, that's a bonus."

What: Eric (.254) and Shawn (.294) sported career-high batting averages in 2011. They played together at Class A Advanced Lakeland before Shawn was promoted to Double-A Erie. "Shawn is a very versatile player, a grinder," Owen said. "Eric, being a catcher, has made some improvements [with] his blocking and receiving."

Who: Catcher Luis Alberto Sanz, 20, and right-handed starting pitcher Luis Angel Sanz, 24.

Where: The Sanz siblings were born and raised in Guatire, Miranda -- a state in baseball-rich Venezuela.

When: Luis Alberto signed as a free agent in July 2007; Luis Angel signed in December 2005 -- both straight out of their native country.

What: Luis Alberto batted .294 in 41 games at Class A West Michigan and, on Sept. 2, he teamed with staring pitcher Luis Angel on 6 1/3 perfect innings for Class A Short-Season Connecticut. Luis Angel would go 6-4 with a 2.81 ERA in 14 starts for the Tigers. "He will overthrow at times," Owen said of Luis Angel, "but he has a chance to have three average pitches."

Colorado Rockies
Who: First basemen Chad Tracy, 26, and Mark Tracy, 24. Father Jim skippers the Rox, while eldest son, Brian, a pitcher, retired from the Minors in 2007.

Where: The pride of Arlington Heights, Ill., Chad played at Pepperdine University and Mark found his swing at Duquesne University.

When: Colorado chose Mark in the 2010 Draft's 22nd round and traded for Chad in a Jan. 5 deal with Texas.

What: Chad batted .259, but notched career bests in homers (26) and RBIs (109) at Triple-A Round Rock last year, his sixth in the Rangers' system. Mark hit .256 and collected 30 extra-base hits and 54 RBIs at Class Asheville in his second pro season.

Brothers in the Minors with different organizations
Caleb (Orioles) and Corban Joseph (Yankees), Brett (Indians) and Brad Brach (Padres), Andrew (Angels) and Austin Romine (Yankees), Brett (Cubs) and Matt Wallach (Dodgers), Deshun (Rays) and Rashun Dixon (A's), Jeff (Rays) and Steve Ames (Dodgers), Shane (Blue Jays) and Jake Opitz (Cubs), Kala (free agent) and Kila Ka'aihue (A's), Corey (Blue Jays) and Eric Patterson (Tigers), Boss (Red Sox) and Moko Moanaroa (free agent), Josh (A's) and Jared Lansford (free agent), Chase (Pirates) and Travis d'Arnaud and Tyson (A's) and Joe Ross (Padres).

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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