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Tuesday, August 28, 2012
SweetSpot TV: Bring up Dylan Bundy!

By David Schoenfield


To go with Jim Bowden's piece on 10 prospects he'd like to see called up , Eric Karabell and myself taped a little video. We both agree with Jim that the Orioles should call up pitcher Dylan Bundy.

I wanted to expand on that just a bit here. As Jim writes, and Keith Law has written, and everybody else agrees with, Bundy has Grade A major league stuff. He's dominated in the minor leagues, is mature beyond his experience and is unlikely to be fazed by the bright lights of The Show.

The argument against calling him up basically resides in his age: He's 19 years old. He's only thrown 98 innings in the minors, so fatigue and workload shouldn't be an issue.

But there's no reason a 19-year-old with Bundy's stuff can't succeed in the majors. Felix Hernandez debuted at 19 for the Mariners and posted a 2.67 ERA in 12 starts. True, Hernandez had much more minor league experience -- more than 300 innings. Dwight Gooden nearly won the Cy Young Award in 1984 when he was 19. Bert Blyleven, Catfish Hunter and Jim Palmer reached the majors at 19. I'm not suggesting Bundy will turn into a Hall of Famer, but age itself shouldn't an impediment to reaching the majors.

Maybe the best recent comparison would be Rick Ankiel, a late-season call-up in 1999. He was 20 by the time of his call to the majors, although it's considered his age-19 season. In nine games, including five starts, he posted a 3.27 ERA in 33 innings. Ankiel did have 42 minor league starts under his belt compared to Bundy's 22, but that's the kind of impact Bundy could make. (And, no, Ankiel's meltdown that occurred in the 2000 postseason and following year is not a concern.)

You often hear old-timers so that players are rushed to the majors these days. That simply isn't true. And in Dylan Bundy's case, the stuff is there. The caution to not rush him is certainly understandable, but if the kid is ready the kid is ready.