This series will look at prospects and show whether they are worth an investment on your fantasy team. Every owner knows that the secret to a strong minors system is knowing who to throw away and knowing who to keep. Each player featured in this series will be given one of the following recommendations:
- Hold ’em : If you own this prospect, hang tight. While times may seem rough, the talent is worth holding onto.
- Fold ’em : If you own this prospect, now is the time to sell while they may still have some name value.
- Walk Away: This prospect is not worth paying attention to in your league.
- Run: Get to the waiver wire immediately and put a claim in for this prospect.
Two weeks ago, I looked at Rymer Liriano as he returned this year from Tommy John surgery. Today, it’s another player returning from a lost 2013 due to the same surgery; this time SP Dylan Bundy. Bundy was ranked as high as the #2 overall prospect heading into 2013 by Baseball America. I ranked him cautiously at #28 heading into this year, but by all accounts he is beginning to regain his elite prospect status. On Sunday, Bundy made his 2014 debut in Aberdeen, pitching 5 innings, allowing 5 hits, no walks, no runs, while striking out 6.
With little looks at Bundy since his return, here is a video from 2012, courtesy of Mike Newman. Mike owns one of my favorite web sites; check him out at RotoScouting.com.
Bundy was drafted #4 overall in 2011 by the Baltimore Orioles. From that same year, Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Jose Fernandez, George Springer and Sonny Gray have already achieved great things in the big leagues, while Bradley, Lindor and Baez are knocking at the door.
Here’s a look at the first round, just because it really was an excellent class:
|2011 First Round Draft|
|1||Gerrit Cole||RHP||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|2||Danny Hultzen||LHP||Seattle Mariners|
|3||Trevor Bauer||RHP||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|4||Dylan Bundy||RHP||Baltimore Orioles|
|5||Bubba Starling||OF||Kansas City Royals|
|6||Anthony Rendon||3B||Washington Nationals|
|7||Archie Bradley||RHP||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|8||Francisco Lindor||SS||Cleveland Indians|
|9||Javier Baez||SS||Chicago Cubs|
|10||Cory Spangenberg||3B||San Diego Padres|
|11||George Springer||CF||Houston Astros|
|12||Taylor Jungmann||RHP||Milwaukee Brewers|
|13||Brandon Nimmo||RF||New York Mets|
|14||Jose Fernandez||RHP||Florida Marlins|
|15||Jed Bradley||LHP||Milwaukee Brewers|
|16||Chris Reed||LHP||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|17||C.J. Cron||1B||Los Angeles Angels|
|18||Sonny Gray||RHP||Oakland Athletics|
|19||Matt Barnes||RHP||Boston Red Sox|
|20||Tyler Anderson||LHP||Colorado Rockies|
|21||Tyler Beede||RHP||Toronto Blue Jays|
|22||Kolten Wong||2B||St. Louis Cardinals|
|23||Alex Meyer||RHP||Washington Nationals|
|24||Taylor Guerrieri||RHP||Tampa Bay Rays|
|25||Joe Ross||RHP||San Diego Padres|
|26||Blake Swihart||C||Boston Red Sox|
|27||Robert Stephenson||RHP||Cincinnati Reds|
|28||Sean Gilmartin||LHP||Atlanta Braves|
|29||Joe Panik||SS||San Francisco Giants|
|30||Levi Michael||SS||Minnesota Twins|
|31||Mikie Mahtook||OF||Tampa Bay Rays|
|32||Jake Hager||SS||Tampa Bay Rays|
|33||Kevin Matthews||LHP||Texas Rangers|
Dylan Bundy was easily considered the best high school arm in 2011, throwing a high 90s fast ball, a 90s cutter, a plus cutter, plus curve ball and a change. Not only could he dial his fastball to 100 mph, but his control was other-worldly, walking 5 batters while striking out 158 in his 71 innings as a senior.
Picked 4th overall, Bundy set the baseball world abuzz with his 30 consecutive scoreless innings to begin his professional career in 2012. At just 19 years of age, he would be promoted to High A, then AA, before ultimately making 2 relief appearances for the Baltimore Orioles.
Bundy arrived in major league camp in 2013, looking to earn a spot in the Orioles rotation at just 20 years old, but elbow tightness would sidetrack his progress. He was given a platelet rich plasma injection and prescribed 6 weeks of rest by Dr. James Andrews, but ultimately he succumbed to Tommy John surgery in June of 2013.
The Present: Dylan Bundy has been pitching in extended spring training and finally got into official game action on Sunday. His fast ball, once a high 90’s offering, topped out at 94. He didn’t walk any, displaying his usual pinpoint control and struck out 6 batters.
“I was excited to get back on the mound, my arm felt great,” Bundy said. “I’m happy with [the outing]. Gave up one run on five hits, could have located off-speed stuff better and they were able to get some hits, but I was really happy with command of my fastball.”
The plan is for Bundy to make two more starts in Aberdeen and then move up to the next level.
The Future: It’s easy to forget that Bundy is just a 21-year-old pitcher; younger than Noah Syndergaard, Archie Bradley and Taijuan Walker. There is no denying that Bundy has the arsenal to be a top of the rotation arm, but by all accounts his makeup and work ethic is also off the charts. With the Orioles in a playoff race, Bundy could be a key contributor late in the second half. It is still too early to say his surgery was a success and that he’ll make a full recovery, but if I was betting on one pitcher from the minor leagues to become a #1 or #2 in the majors, Bundy would be my guy. Recommendation: Run.
Other Prospect Notes:
Jose Peraza, SS, Atlanta Braves. 20-year-old Peraza stole 65 bases last year in A ball, leading me to rank him among my Top 10o prospects preseason. So far in High A, he’s hitting .342/.365/.454 with 35 bases; his line in June: .426/.426/.525. He won’t push Simmons off of SS, but he may push LaStella off second base. Prospect Ranking in 2014 #90. Recommendation: Run
Kyle Schwarber, C, Chicago Cubs. Pick #4 from June’s draft, Schwarber signed quick and has hit 4 home runs in his first 4 games in low A, knocking in 10 runs. The Cubs have announced that he’ll be promoted to A ball today. Schwarber is a safe bet to make the big leagues and was considered one of the best college bats in the draft. Prospect Ranking in 2014 N/A. Recommendation: Run
Taijuan Walker, SP, Seattle Mariners. Walker pitched 6+ innings on Saturday, allowing just one hit while striking out 7 batters. With Erasmo Ramirez continuing to disappoint, it’s just a matter of time before Walker replaces him. Heck it could be next week. Prospect Ranking in 2014 #8. Recommendation: Run
Manny Banuelos, SP, New York Yankees. Ranked as the #29 overall prospect by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus prior to 2012, Banuelos missed most of that season and all of 2013 after Tommy John surgery. The left-hander is throwing in the low 90s and has struck out more than a batter per inning this year. Still just 23 years old, Banuelos is looking very much a part of the Yankees future again. Prospect Ranking in 2014 N/A. Recommendation: Hold ‘Em
Daniel Norris, SP, Toronto Blue Jays. Norris may have been a 2nd round pick (#74) in 2011, but he was widely considered the best high school LHP in the draft. Just 21, Norris has put it all together this season as he’s pitched 66 innings, struck out 76, while just allowing 50 hits and 18 walks. Ranked nowhere heading into 2013 or 2014, Norris is making headlines this year with his mid 90s fastball and excellent curve. He could be the key trade piece if the Blue Jays make a move for someone like Price or Samardzija. Prospect Ranking in 2014 N/A. Recommendation: Run
If you’re gonna play the game boy, you gotta learn to play it right.