Dylan Bundy had all of the tools to become a long-term fixture at the top of the Orioles’ rotation.
He faced lofty expectations after being selected by the Orioles with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft from Owasso High School in Oklahoma.
After five underwhelming big-league seasons, the right-hander has a new beginning with another franchise.
The Orioles traded Bundy to the Los Angeles Angels for four right-handed pitching prospects — Isaac Mattson, Zach Peek, Kyle Bradish and Kyle Brnovich.
“It’s a bittersweet thing, parting with Dylan,” Baltimore general manager Mike Elias said in a conference call with reporters just hours after the trade was announced. “He’s been in this organization since he was drafted in 2011, been nine years with the Orioles. He’s done a lot for the Orioles. He has laid it all on the line at all times for the Orioles and has always taken the ball and this dates well back beyond my short time here, but everything I’ve heard leading into that and his history and the respect that teams around the league have for him.
“And we’re going to miss him and we have a hole in our rotation to fill.”
Bundy, who was a first-round pick in 2011, finished the 2019 season 7-14 with a 4.79 ERA in 30 starts. He had 162 strikeouts, 58 walks and a 1.35 WHIP. He finishes his career with the Orioles at 38-45 with a 4.67 ERA. Bundy won a career-high 13 games in 2017, but never showed the type of command that would have consistently put him at the top of the rotation.
Here is a breakdown of the Orioles’ return:
• Bradish, 23, appeared in 24 games (18 starts) with High-A Inland Empire in 2019. He had a 6-7 record with a 4.28 ERA (101 innings, 48 earned runs) and managed 120 strikeouts with 53 walks for the 66ers.
• Mattson, 24, saw action at three different levels of the Angels’ organization in 2019: High-A Inland Empire, Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake. Mattson fashioned a 6-3 record with a 2.33 ERA across 37 relief appearances.
• Brnovich, 22, was drafted by the Angels in the eighth round out of Elon University this past season but did not appear in a minor league game.
• Peek, 21, was a sixth-round selection by the Angels during the 2019 draft out of Winthrop University. He also did not appear in the minors.
In the big picture, the Orioles have more depth with pitching at the minor-league level. However, Elias said there is still plenty of work to do, particularly at the major-league level.
“We’re thin to begin with and we’re taking one of the stalwarts out of our rotation, just as we did last year with [Andrew] Cashner, but to get where we need to go these are the types of moves, the types of decisions, that we have to make right now,” Elias said. “The tough spot that we’re in, we’ve got a long climb ahead of us. That’s why we were brought here, to lead this effort. All the people that we’ve brought in — scouting and player development, the coaching staff — we’ve all got our eyes on a bigger goal.
“And in order to get there we’re going to need to bring in as much young talent into the farm system as we possibly can and sometimes you have to give up good quality off your major-league roster to do that. And Dylan is exactly that.”
In the short term, the Orioles will need to fill out the starting rotation in 2020. As of now, the team has John Means, Alex Cobb, if healthy, Asher Wojciechowski, David Hess and possibly Dean Kremer in the mix, among others.
Last season, the Orioles had 18 different players make at least one start.
“I think that ultimately we may see many of those rotation spots hopefully inhabited by guys who are already in the organization, that were either in Triple-A last year or are going to be in Triple-A for the first time,” Elias said. “I think we’re having some pitchers starting to knock on the door to the big leagues that we view as starting pitcher prospects in our system, but we don’t want to rush them and we also don’t know if and when they’re going to be ready, so we do plan on supplementing our core of starting pitcher candidates outside the organization this winter.
“Whether it’s major league free agency or minor-league free agency, I think we’re going to be bringing in some competition for the rotation so that we’re not in a situation where we’re having to do something to one of our prospects that’s not best for his development.”
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