21 November 2011

2012 Top 25 Prospects: #4 Bobby Bundy (rhp)

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Player: Robert "Bobby" Bundy
Position: right-handed pitcher
Ht/Wt: 6-2/215
B/T: R/R
Age at 11/2011: 21y11m
2011 level(s): Advanced-A Frederick; Double-A Bowie
2011 statistics: Baseball-reference; Minor League Central

Grades - Now (Future):
Motion: 45/50 (55)
Fastball: 45/50 (55)
Curveball: 40/45 (55/60)
Slider: 40/45 (50)
Change: 35/40 (50)
Control: 45/50 (50/55)
Command: 35/40 (50)
Feel: 40 (50)
Overall Future Potential: 51-56
Prospect Grade: B

*Click here for primer on Grades

Drafted in the 8th Round of the 2008 Draft, out of Sperry High School (Sperry, Okla.), and signed for overslot bonus of $600,000. Top 100 talent that dropped in the draft in large part due to knee injury during basketball season. Played his senior year with younger brother Dylan Bundy(rhp), who subsquently transfered to Owasso HS (Owasso, Okla.) and was the fourth overall selection in the 2011 Draft, also by Baltimore. Bobby spent 2011 as a starter for the Frederick Keys (Advanced-A, Baltimore system) before finishing the season at Bowie (Double-A, Baltimore system).

Physical Description:
Strong, workhorse build on broad, athletic frame. Thick throughout, with even distribution. Solid athleticism and body control. Moves reasonably well off of mound.

Long arm action on the backside creates an inconsistent launch point as Bundy begins to rotate through. It is possible this could be addressed through utilization of a straight drop arm to begin his arm circle, as opposed to his current approach of swinging into it. In any event, it is an issue that development staff will likely address. The rest of his mechanics are generally uniform and repeatable, with a smooth plant and follow. The result is solid control but an inability to consistently hit his spots within the zone. His three-quarters slot works well for all four of his offerings, and there is obvious athleticism in his actions.

Fastball - Upper-80s to low-90s heavy heater that can run in to righties, as well. Will flatten up in the zone some, and Bundy isn't as precise with the pitch as he will need to be in order to reach his mid-rotation ceiling.

Curve - Power breaker that will flash plus on a 12-to-6 trajectory, but can grade as low as below-average when he loses his release. The inconsistencies in this pitch are likely a direct result of his varying launch points.

Slider - Like his curve, Bundy's slider is plagued by inconsistencies due to his issues with repeating his release point. At it's best, it can be an average to slightly above-average pitch right now and pairs well with his sinking fastball when he is able to keep it down in the zone.

Change-up - While Bundy has grown his offspeed since his high school days, it still remains the weakest of his offerings and leaves him without a suitable weapon for handling lefties.

Bundy has made steady progress through the Orioles system, and 2011 served as a breakout year for the righty from a production standpoint. A likely unsustainably low BABIP against left-handed hitters (.267 against lefties; .313 against righties) kept his left/right splits more balanced than they should have been. Even then, lefites out OPSed righties to tune of the following slash lines: .221/.313/.392/.705 against lefties; .263/.317/.375/.692 against righties. Perhaps most telling, Bundy's SO/BB ratio against lefties (1.81) is less than half of that against righties (4.27).

The good news is that Bundy's issues appear to be fairly easy to identify. In order for his command in the zone to increase, and the consistency of his secondaries to increase, Bundy will need to find a way to hit is backside checkpoints more consistently. The second glaring weakness is his lack of a consistent weapon with which to attack lefties. His change-up is improving, and provided he is able to clean-up the backside of his arm action some, he should have little trouble growing it into at least an average offering. Further, improved command and execution of his secondaries will lead to more missed bats, as it will lead to fewer spots missed and more frequent effective showings of his power curve and slider.

As a 21-year old in Advanced-A ball, Bundy put together a very strong year. As encouraging as his final stat line was, the fact that he cruised through the season with very few issues until his late season promotion to Bowie is cause for great optimism. The only real hiccup was his June, which included five starts and an FIP of over 5 (as opposed to his April, May and July of 1.36, 3.59 and 3.11, respectively). He reached 136 innings pitched in 2011 and is poised to break the 150 innings threshold in 2012. He projects as a durable 200-plus innings eater with a chance for two above-average pitches and four usable Major League offerings. If his command and his secondaries do not improve over the next two seasons, he still has value as a swing man or a middle-reliever that could bump the mid-90s in shorter stints.

Ceiling: #3 starter on first division team
Floor: Middle-reliever/swingman
Projected: #4 starter on first division team

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