There has been very little chatter on free agent right-hander Dylan Bundy since the Twins declined his $11 million club option for 2023 back in early November. The 30-year-old managed to stay mostly healthy last season in Minnesota, outside of a short COVID-19 IL stint in May, but that run of better health didn’t exactly yield the kind of bounceback campaign that the Twins — and now other teams — were looking for.
Across his 29 starts, covering 140 innings, Bundy struggled to a 4.89 ERA (79 ERA+, 21 points below league average) and he also registered by far the lowest strikeout rate of his career. His measly K/9 of 6.04 ranked third-worst among the 71 major leaguers who logged at least 140 innings in 2022. Granted, veteran starter Johnny Cueto was even more inferior in that regard (5.75 K/9) and yet he managed to score a one-year, $8.5MM contract from the Marlins that can max out at two years, $16.5MM if Miami also picks up his option for 2024.
The one calling card for Bundy, if he can’t recapture a bit more swing-and-miss, is that he does have impeccable control. He ranked in just the 8th percentile of all MLB pitchers last year in strikeout percentage and finished in the 15th percentile in whiff rate, but his BB percentage of 4.7 was a 93rd-percentile triumph of sorts. On the flip side there, he served up 151 hits and 24 home runs to the 595 batters he faced. Pitchers that are forced into more of a contact-inviting approach must ensure that it is soft contact, and Bundy did not meet that objective. That he’s being forced into a change at all at a relatively young age doesn’t speak well of the long-term outlook for the No. 4 overall pick from the 2011 MLB Draft. His fastball continues to lose velocity (89.2 mph average last year, compared to 93.8 mph in 2016) and his slider, curveball and changeup have all been rendered rather ineffective as out-inducing offerings.
Bundy is probably looking to land in a pitcher-friendly environment, but he had that with the Twins and it sure seems like he won’t get much of a choice of destinations in the end. Maybe the Cardinals would like to build out better rotation depth before camp gets underway in Jupiter, Florida? They’re asking a lot of Jack Flaherty, Steven Matz and a 41-year-old Adam Wainwright as that roster currently stands. Or perhaps the White Sox might be a fit, what with Mike Clevinger currently under investigation following allegations of domestic violence and child abuse. Keep in mind that this is a World Baseball Classic year and the door to a job on a contender could suddenly swing open.
The long list of projected non-contenders with rotation holes includes the Pirates, Nationals, Royals … and, well, the Rockies. Boston, sitting kind of on the borderline between contention and non-contention for 2023, could come into the picture here if things fall flat with Michael Wacha, who is still on the hunt for a multi-year deal. We’ve already seen how a younger and stronger version of Bundy plays in the AL East, and it was rarely pretty, but it’s not like there are a ton of established MLB starters languishing out on the open market. Wacha is the only one left that cracked MLBTR’s Top 50 list.
Bundy’s best showing on the mound came in 2020, the COVID-shortened season, when he rolled to a 3.29 ERA with 72 strikeouts (and only 17 walks) in 65 2/3 innings for the Angels. He received one third-place vote and one fifth-place vote for the AL Cy Young Award that year, the only time in his career that he’s been included on any BBWAA ballots. Shane Bieber ultimately took home the hardware in unanimous fashion, with Bundy placing 9th. And, again, this current version of Bundy looks quite different than that one.
Ted was much better.
I’ll take good old Al first in the Bundy draft.
Leaves me Kelly. Oh, well.
King Kong Bundy was better than them all.
Since he was a relative of Peggy’s from Wanker county I am not sure King Kong qualifies as an actual Bundy.
deGrom Texas Ranger
I’m surprised more don’t get the Ted Bundy reference.
White Sox minor league deal feels right. No starting depth in the minors.
He needs to move to the pen and hopefully pick up some speed on his fastball. Having a hard time hitting 90mph at 30 years old brings back memories of Yardano Gallardo and we all know how his career as a starter turned out. Pitchers like Bundy find new life and a velocity return moving to the pen. Ian Kennedy added years to his career by doing it and made more money than he would have had he stayed a starter for as long as he could.
Bundy having Baldelli as his manager certainly didn’t help. Baldelli had the world’s quickest hook last year, but Bundy had a solid start about 2 of 3 games. Not terrible by any means. Not the kind of guy you’d want to pay big dollars to, but for a team who needs a veteran back end starter or depth, there are probably worse options out there. He’d do himself a big favor by getting into better shape and finding just a tick more velocity.
I’d guess Bundy secures a sub-$5MM guaranteed MLB contract this year.
Actually, the quick hook likely helped Bundy’s numbers.
Criticize Rocco’s hook all you want, but the twins starters were among the worst last year the third time through the order and Bundy was no exception.
TTO is a terrible lie in my opinion. Pitchers’ xFIP doesn’t climb much TTO.
Pitcher gives up a slow grounder seeing eye single and a 340ft home run on a well placed pitch? They get yanked. Their FIP and ERA skyrockets and the myth of the TTO is pushed further ahead. xFIP? Not so much.
Bundy is a good case in point (though the sample size is minute)
FTO 3.22 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 4.67 xFIP, 29.2% Hard Hit
STO 5.55 ERA, 5.89 FIP, 5.21 xFIP 35.6% Hard Hit
TTO 9.18 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 3.21 xFIP, 30.5% Hard Hit
Bundy’s FIP and xFIP were much better on the TTO, but the quick hook robbed him of the chance to get out of trouble. The Twins middle relievers were not exactly excellent at keeping inherited runners from stepping on home plate which also contributes to inflated TTO ERA’s.
I think Bundy felt the pressure of the quick hook. He averaged 75 pitches per start and rarely completed 5 innings while trying to get the magical 18 outs.. I hope he has a nice bounce back.
Hitters had a near 1.000 OPS against him the third time through the order lol. He was dreadful last year and he doesn’t have a single plus pitch. He’s lucky he wasn’t DFA’d
Al Bundy! I thought he was a high school QB?
deGrom Texas Ranger
Bundy had a killer arm once.
Whenever I see Bundy on the mound, he looks unwell. Like he’s a heavy drinker.
Bundy is done
Weirdly enough I think the Os could take a shot at him. Could go the tommy hunter rout and be a long reliever and might be a spot starter.
Ugh. No thanks.
C Yards Jeff
He seems done but the O’s Elias does have a very recent history of doing just this. Givens is back and Vavra was in that Colorado trade for him. Both have more than a shot at the opening day roster.
The Os got Bradish and Brnovich in the Bundy trade. Bradish was in the rotation last year and Brnovich is in Norfolk, albeit struggling but there. Sign Dylan to one of them split major minor league deals and see what happens?
Bundy honestly profiles much better at Camden Yards now. His problem was that short LF wall. He’s a fly ball pitcher and we have a monster out there now.
But he’s barely touching 90mph on his heater these days & I don’t believe he’s any better than the 7 options we have to start in our opening day rotation right now.
He’s probably better than Watkins, who won’t crack our rotation, but is optionable for the full season. I can’t see Dylan wanting to spend much of the year in Norfolk. If he’s signing a minor league deal—I suspect it’ll come with multiple early opt outs.
We’re better off developing what we have now. The upside on Bundy at this point is another Jordan Lyles. If everything goes right for him. Pass.
It’s a shame Bundy never fully recovered. He threw heat at 18 years old and simply never got it back after TJ….that’s really not the norm anymore.
It is down to the nitty gritty when Bundy, Wacha and Greinke are the best of the starters still out there. You also got guys like Kuhl,Minor and Archer too. I actually saw Kuhl have a cpl decent outings out of the pen. He might be worth a minor league deal.
They’re all worth minor leaguer deals.
Grienke is either going back to KC or retiring.
Wacha wants a two year deal which he’s probably not getting.
I thought Minor had basically retired after last season
Kuhl is probably a decent minor league flier type.
Archer is still horrible
Archer still looking.
Goku the All Knowing
Archer or Bundy might be decent insurance for Severino
Time to go to the bullpen, Dylan
Bundy has Royals written all over him. They love awful pitchers “eating innings”.
Motor City Beach Bum
Greinke had a good year and do did Wacha (although advanced metrics didn’t like him as much). Bundy on the other hand…mehhhh!
Wasn’t this guy supposed to be the next Bob Feller?
C Yards Jeff
He was that guy.
The Ubaldo instead of Zach from the bullpen snafu in the 2016 Toronto playoff game is considered Showalter’s biggest gaff as Orioles manager. Not me, it was the Os complete mismanagement of Bundy’s 2012 campaign. They rushed him. Got his “cup of coffee” way too soon. “In the moment”, IMHO, was overthrowing. Result. Soon thereafter TJ surgery. Never the same since; specifically, never got his 98 mph heater back. And that’s not just me. This was a hot button topic of discussion on local radio talk shows back then.
Tragic. Dude was filthy. Next to Earl you are my favorite O’s manager, but why Buck? Why did you rush this kid?
Bundy’s story really sucks. It’s a shame that happened. Would’ve loved to see our current regime have the opportunity to work with that teenage version of Bundy.
BUT. We have Bundy & Elias to thank for Kyle Bradish now.
Tigers should take a flyer on his.
Then again Tigers should do a lot of things.
They’d have been better off rolling the dice on Bundy than giving 10 mil to Boyd
Giants and Padres make sense as a minor league options; SF has had a lot of success in reviving starting pitchers and the Padres have a shaky 5th spot. The Nats, A’s and Pirates are interesting for low pressure teams. I could see a nice spring storyline if he went back to Baltimore but they probably don’t want to give him a spot.
Perfect time Bundy and Wacha to play a waiting game for maybe their last big dip. Both at about 29m career earnings.
For some reason Bundy signing with the Cubs just seems right…
Cubs already have eight starters that would be singed as middle to back of rotation by any of the other twenty-nine teams. Some
that will end up in AAA that are better too. Rockies should sign him. He will give up more than a run per inning there.
The Pirates do not have starting rotation holes. Between prospects and the major leage staff, the Pirates starters run 9 deep.
Same with the Cardinals – Flaherty, Mikolas, Montgomery, Wainwright and Matz in the rotation plus depth of Hudson, Woodford, Pallante, Thompson, Liberatore, and maybe Thomas and Graceffo. Lack of an ace is the issue, not depth, though I guess is there was a good trade candidate who had 3 years controllable they would listen given all their starters except Matz are out of contract after 2023.
But lets not let that stop writers putting the Cards in the mix for every FA pitcher who still needs a home, eh?
Keller, Contreras, Brubaker, Oviedo, and Hill is a solid 1-5. Priester, Burrows, Ortiz, Nicolas, and Mlodzinski should make up the Triple-A rotation to start the year. Not to mention guys who can be swing-men like Cody Bolton and Nick Dombkowski at Triple-A, and Vince Velasquez at the major league level.
I must say that we’re in the dog days of FA when the Bundy’s of the world deserve a 450 word write-up on mlbtr.
So sad. This guy was a cant miss prospect, the next Clemens. His workout regimen and work ethic was next to none. Then the injury bug hit him and he was never the same.
I hear he was a great athlete in high school. I regularly hear stories about how he scored four touchdowns in one game and led Polk High to victory in the City Championship against Andrew Johnson High.
The Big Yo
My friends nickname is ‘Bundy’. Can he get a contract instead?
All for the Royals here
If you start a sentence with and you don’t need a comma after it.
The problem is a team would have to put him into their rotation. He’s a talented pitcher who can’t pitch well. Has the tools, does not deploy them properly. Teams will stay away.
Seems to me he Boras’d himself by declining the $11 mill
deGrom Texas Ranger
That was the Twins who declined his option.
Lol Dylan Bundy wouldve opted into $11M in a half second.
Still think he was a better option for the Angels last than 20 mil for Thor. But heyy we got Moniak out of it!