Fresh out of high school, Dylan Bundy looked more like a rehabbing Major Leaguer facing youngsters on Friday.
Bundy, the Orioles' top pitching prospect, struck out six over three perfect innings in his professional debut as the Class A Delmarva Shorebirds beat the Asheville Tourists, 7-2, at McCormick Field.
"I felt great, went out there and competed," said Bundy. "Threw my fastball mainly. For the first two innings, it was all I threw, but it felt good to be on the mound, see hitters in a live game for the first time since high school.
"I saw it a little bit in instructional league, but that didn't count. Happy to get back out there."
The 19-year-old right-hander made his first start since the Orioles selected him with the fourth overall pick in last year's Draft out of Owasso (Okla.) High School. He struck out the side swinging in the first inning and caught Jared Simon looking to end the second. Bundy cruised through the third, fanning Trevor Story and Rosell Herrera in between Will Swanner's groundout.
"I felt great," he said. "I worked well in the zone overall. When I did throw balls, I felt like over half of them were low in the zone and that's a huge thing for me, keeping the ball down. So that was huge for me to do. I felt great."
Ballpark radar guns had Bundy hitting the mid-to-high 90s.
"People told me 97 a few times, hit 98 a couple times," he said.
Bundy, whose older brother, Bobby, started on Friday for Double-A Bowie, pitched an inning for the Orioles in Spring Training -- an accomplishment in itself for someone fresh out of high school. He figures to spend most of this season in the Minors, despite being on Baltimore's 40-man roster.
He said he tried to soak up as much as possible in his time in Florida this spring.
"I mean definitely little things, the guys talking to me every day. You learn about things on and off the field, about locating your fastball to the pro hitters," Bundy said. "You've gotta make quality pitches."
Bundy also works in a slider, curveball and changeup. He entered the season as MLB.com's No. 10 prospect, and that was before suiting up for the Shorebirds.
For now, he's focused on adjusting to the Minors and sharpening his arsenal of pitches.
"I really wanted to try and work on my changeup, but I only threw three," he said. "I still feel like I got something accomplished throwing three -- two weren't so good, but the other I was able to stay on top of and keep down in the zone, threw it for a strike.
"I threw a couple curveballs, felt great with fastball command inside and outside, which is really key for me. I want to pound the zone."
Bundy's strike-throwing made him legendary on Friday. A glitch in the box score had him incorrectly throwing 21 pitches, all for strikes. Orioles fans immediately buzzed on Twitter about the team's future ace and his spectacular line.
"I wanna say 43 [pitches], but I'm not completely positive," Bundy said. "I don't think it's a pitch count thing, I was gonna go three innings no matter what, whether that was 50 pitches in three innings or 20 pitches in three innings."
Still, the numbers will be enough to get scouts and fans pumped. Bundy himself was pretty excited.
"Definitely, I was amped up, a little nervous," he said. "I think every Opening Day you get a little nervous, but after you get your first couple pitches out of the way, you settle in."
How fast do the Orioles plan to bring Bundy along?
"I'm not sure exactly what the huge plan is," he said. "I know they want to keep an innings limit for the year, but I'm not sure what it is. I know the first couple outings are going to be three innings, then bump it up to four, then bump it up again, but I'm not sure how many starts for each."
The 6-foot-1 righty left a scoreless game and did not factor in the decision. Delmarva took a 1-0 lead in the fourth and tacked on five runs in the fifth to pull ahead for good. Reliever Miguel Chalas picked up the win, despite allowing two runs over two innings.