In a move that has caught the eyes of American League playoff contenders, the surprising Baltimore Orioles have called up their 19 year old pitching phenom Dylan Bundy just in time for their matchup with the Seattle Mariners this evening. Bundy was selected with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 draft and has showed flashes of dominance in the minor leagues since his arrival in the Orioles system. MLB.com recently re-ranked their list of top 100 prospects and Bundy found his name as the top pitching prospect in all of baseball and No. 2 overall. This exciting season for the 2012 Orioles has been led by 14 extra inning victories, timely hitting, and a dominant bullpen. The Orioles currently find themselves only a half game behind the New York Yankees for the AL East lead and 3 games up on the Los Angeles Angels for the newly created second Wild Card spot. The Orioles have already proven they aren’t afraid to throw their top young talent in the heat of a pennant race as the call-up of their top hitting prospect and current third basemen Manny Machado earlier this season has shown. Machado has performed admirably and the team is hoping for a similar jolt from Bundy in these crucial days of September.
The call-up of Bundy at this point of the season is surprising, especially considering he is ineligible for the Orioles playoff roster due to not being on the active roster on September 1st. The Tampa Bay Rays made a similar move with current ace David Price in 2008 as the Rays used him out of the bullpen and watched him become a key component in their rise to the World Series. Like Price, Bundy is expected to pitch out of the bullpen for a team in dire need of fresh arms after using 8 pitchers in an 18 inning victory over the Mariners last night. Bundy last pitched on September 5th for the teams instructional league down in Florida and the original plan was for him to finish his 2012 campaign down there for further seasoning. In late July, Tom Verducci of SI.com wrote an excellent article for Sports Illustrated on the teams plans to nurture Bundy into a star by taking it slow due to the many risks a young hurler faces, which further adds to the surprise of todays announcement. However, the Orioles haven’t been 20 games over .500 this late in the season since 1997 and the thought of overtaking the Yankees in the AL East has led to a rebirth for baseball in Baltimore. Are the Orioles doing the right thing by bringing up Bundy now instead of leaving their future ace in the minors for more seasoning? That answer will have to be answered at a later date as it is clear to see the Orioles are going for it all in their quest for a playoff run.