With Opening Day less than a week away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.
SP Dylan Bundy
Opening Day age: 24
Contract status: Under contract through the 2021 season
2016 stats: 10-6, 4.02 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 18 HR, 109 2/3 innings
Why to be impressed: It was remarkable to see Bundy hold up as well as he did physically in 2016 after having pitched a total of 65 1/3 professional innings the previous two seasons combined. The right-hander’s strikeout rate was also better as a starter than it was as a reliever with one per inning in the second half of the season, an encouraging sign for his ability to succeed as a major league starter.
Why to be concerned: Bundy struggled going through the order a third time as opponents hit six home runs and posted a .960 OPS in 55 plate appearances, which could have been a result of fatigue or hitters figuring out his repertoire. His average fastball velocity dropped nearly two whole miles per hour from his first start in mid-July to his final start, another sign of his workload needing to be monitored.
2017 outlook: The 2011 first-round pick brings much-needed upside to a below-average starting rotation, but you wonder if the Orioles are asking for too much in what will be his first full season as a starter. The reintroduction of the cutter will hopefully offset some of his problems going through the batting order a third time, but it was clear in 2016 that he has the talent to succeed if he can stay healthy.
2017 not-so-scientific projections: 12-9, 3.89 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 8.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 23 HR, 151 innings