Name: Dylan Bundy
Why He’s This High: Bundy was the 4th overall pick in the draft this season, and the first high school player selected. In a year with less top-end college arms, he’d have been in the top overall selection discussion. He was considered to be the best high school pitcher in the draft.
Bundy unleashes mid-90′s heat from a seemingly effortless delivery, and his secondary pitches are more advanced than those of most high school pitchers. His curveball and changeup could both become average-plus to plus pitches in time.
Bundy’s delivery allows him to command his arsenal beyond his years, as well.
Overall, Bundy has ace upside if he can stay on the mound, maintain his velocity, and continue to refine his offspeed offerings and command.
Why He’s This Low: Of course, Bundy is extraordinarily untested, having signed late; he has yet to throw a professional pitch. If you rank heavily based on ceiling (as many do), then he should be significantly higher, but if you take floor into account as well (which I perhaps do more than most), then his lack of experience leaves many questions unanswered. Of course, somebody like Gerrit Cole or Anthony Rendon (both of whom rank higher than Bundy) also is untested in pro ball, but both Cole and Rendon are college players who will start 2012 much closer to the big leagues than Bundy will.
Beyond the simple “he’s a HS kid/far from the majors/completely unproven against pro competition” issue, Bundy is a relatively small pitcher at 6’1″, and while his delivery is extremely smooth, he could stand to incorporate his lower half more to take some stress of his arm. In a lot of ways, he evokes Jarrod Parker to me in his profile–a short but highly-touted HS arm with big heat and average offspeed stuff–and while Parker still projects to be a solid big-league contributor, he’s already had major arm trouble and somewhat underwhelming results, to the point where he projects more as a power reliever or third starter than an ace.
Conclusions: Bundy has potentially elite stuff, and if he has a successful 2012 in Low-A, he’ll be right there in the top group of pitching prospects. Even now, it’s high praise for a teenager with no pro experience to be included in the top couple dozen minor league arms in the game. He’s a guy with a very high ceiling who is understandably far from reaching that ceiling, and like most players at this nascent stage of development, he’ll be much easier to evaluate in a year.
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