Washington Nationals farmhand Billy Burns may never get to the big leagues, but there’s a good chance he may become an answer to a trivia question etched as part of Orioles lore: who was the batter that ended the string of 26 consecutive hitters retired by Dylan Bundy to begin his professional career?
Normally when I do the Shorebird of the Week I have to look up a number of statistics, but since the younger Bundy (his brother was Shorebird of the Week on August 5, 2010, making Dylan and Bobby Bundy the first brother combination to be so honored) just began his professional career this season, the numbers are easy – 9 innings pitched, no hits, runs, or earned runs, no record, and 15 strikeouts to go with that lone Burns walk. The WHIP is a sick 0.11.
How else can you describe a phenom whose first professional game experience came in a major league exhibition game? Kid, welcome to pro baseball – now get big leaguer Jacoby Ellsbury out. He did, but he walked the next batter – some former MVP named Dustin Pedroia. That was the only blemish on his inning pitched, just like Burns was the only blemish on his first nine innings in A ball. I guess Dylan needs to work on that control.
Something the Shorebirds are doing differently with the 19-year-old Oklahoman, as well as their other starters this season, is working in a six-man pitching rotation. The stated reason is so they can have two bullpen sessions between starts, but Bundy is also on a limit of 120 innings pitched this season. This explains why he’s only thrown three innings per start, although plans are to allow him four in his next start scheduled for Tuesday.
There’s little doubt that Bundy has the stuff to compete at the major league level, with the question only being when he gets there. My gut instinct is that we may not see Dylan beyond what would be his fifth scheduled start on April 30, with the question then becoming whether he only moves up to Frederick or has dominated the South Atlantic League to such an extent that a jump to Bowie is warranted. Since he would only have about 17 innings of work in, I tend to believe the former will be the case.
Fortunately for Delmarva fans, if the rotation holds his next two starts would bookend the upcoming homestand so you might just want to get out there. Something tells me the 2,672 fans who saw his home debut will swell to 15,000 or more (to hear them tell it, anyway) once Dylan arrives at The Show.