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|Dylan Bundy, the fourth overall pick in last year's draft, has 25 strikeouts in 17 innings while pitching in the Class A South Atlantic League this season.|
“"When I first met him, I was expecting him to be pretty cocky,'' Bridwell says. "He's got a big name. But if I didn't know what round he went in and what signing bonus he got and all that nonsense, I would have thought, 'This guy might be a free agent.' He's just like one of us.'' Bundy learned how to work up a healthy sweat at age 8. The family had 15 acres of land, so Denver had plenty of space to pick up some pipe and netting and build a batting cage for the boys. He also got a tractor and built a mound from scratch, enlisting Bobby and Dylan to help cut down trees with an ax. Once or twice, Denver made the boys dig a big hole in the ground, load the dirt in a wheelbarrow and roll it around the house, then fill up the hole just for the experience. Those early years made an indelible impression. "My dad and my brother taught me all the right things to do and the wrong things not to do,'' Bundy says. "Respect other people. Be a good teammate, on the field and in the locker room. Don't be cocky or arrogant. Just be a humble guy and go about your business the right way.'' When Bundy joined A.J. Hinch as the second Oklahoman to win the Gatorade National Player of the Year award in 2011, the press release mentioned his 11-0 record, 0.20 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 71 innings for Owasso High School in suburban Tulsa. It also noted that Bundy had a 3.72 grade point average, did volunteer work for his church, helped distribute holiday turkeys at Thanksgiving and worked to provide humanitarian relief to victims of the Joplin, Mo., tornadoes. The Bundy boys are an inquisitive group. In high school, Dylan took classes in sports medicine, anatomy and nutrition. As the draft was approaching, representatives from the Kansas City Royals organization came to the house, and the discussion turned to pitching injuries. "By the end of the conversation, Dylan was naming the specific groups of muscles,'' Denver Bundy says. "He wound up teaching them before they left. It was pretty funny. I'm not easily impressed, and he impressed me that day. I didn't realize he took the course that seriously.'' Bundy's earnestness and commitment are manifested in the killer workout routine that he embraced several years ago with guidance from his father and family friend Jay Franklin, who eventually became his agent. The Bundy brothers posted a YouTube video that features 14-year-old Dylan hammering away on a heavy bag. The video has generated more than 50,000 views, but Dylan is more concerned with the benefits to the back of his shoulder than the publicity fallout. "That's a deceleration muscle, and you have to have it strong and stabilized,'' he says. "Most pitchers are hanging by a limb the day after they start. They can barely hold their arm up. From my experience, and my brother's, we don't get very sore.'' During the offseason, the Bundy brothers stay fit flipping tires, pushing sleds, climbing ropes, flinging medicine balls and squat-lifting heavy weights. In Delmarva, Dylan and Bridwell toss a two-pound weighted ball to each other underhanded to get loose before games. Like Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Trevor Bauer, Bundy is also a huge advocate of long-tossing. "I can throw it as far as him,'' Bridwell says. "I just have to put more arc on it. He puts it right on a line.''
Dylan is a very uncomplicated, down-home kid. I grew up in western Oklahoma in a town of 600 people, and he reminds me a lot of the people I grew up with. They're very down-to-earth, laid-back and easygoing, compared to the east coast, where everybody has to do things fast.” -- Class A Delmarva manager Ryan Minor, a former big league infielder
|Bundy pitched one scoreless inning in a big league game for the Orioles during spring training.|