LAKELAND, FL - After four days and 20 games at the 2011 Terry Donley Blue Devil Classic, there was never much doubt about the best player. Best prospect, maybe, but not best player.
I went home Thursday night shaking my head at what I’d been watching all week, the two-way exploits of Owasso High’s Dylan Bundy. I’ve seen some great two-way high school players in my time but I can’t say any were better than Bundy.
The young Oklahoman drew at least as many scouts to his Wednesday outing as did Archie Bradley the night before. Bundy went out and showed what I believe to be the best present-day stuff and pitchability of any prep in the draft.
He’ll be drafted as a pitcher and that’s where he’ll make the most noise at the next level. But Bundy also put on a hitting performance for the ages.
In the three games I watched Owasso, I saw Bundy hit lasers from both sides of the plate including a 400-foot home run from the left side. I saw him swing and miss just once and never swing at a pitch outside of the strike zone. There was very little flinch on curveballs. His eye was so good, he was taking pitches just an inch or two off the plate.
His intensity and poise as a switch-hitter actually drew to mind Pete Rose. Bundy didn’t show nearly the emotion as “Charlie Hustle”, but you could sense the same reckless abandon within.
At 6’0”, 200 lbs, Bundy looks much more like a position player than a pitcher. He’s powerfully built, especially in his lower half, with sloped shoulders and good strength in his hands and forearms. His swing is a tad shorter and faster from the left side and he shows very good balance with his lower half. From both sides, Bundy’s bat-speed is close to big league average already and he has the extension to hit them over the fence to all fields.
Bundy with the glove? He was the designated hitter most of the time, but in Thursday’s championship rout against Winter Haven HS, Bundy played third base and showed all the tools to become a plus defender there. His feet and hands worked well, his arm was a cannon, and he played the position with good anticipation and a quick first step.
The only thing he didn’t show was speed. Bundy is a little below-average in terms of raw speed, though he runs the bases smart and quite aggressive.
So if Bundy went out as a third baseman, I believe he could get on the 3-4 year fast track to the big leagues because his bat is so advanced. There’s not a lot of projectability, but he’s plenty strong already and capable of hitting for average and line-drive power.
Only problem is that he’s better on the mound and might move even faster! Bundy’s athleticism comes through in his delivery, his lower-half pushes him online to the plate with no drift and little strain on his arm. He came over-the-top smoothly and dealt 92-97 MPH fastballs on a downward plane for seven innings against Lake Wales HS. Bundy’s curveball is a two-plane biter, 76-78 MPH, that would grade big league average right now. His change is not nearly as advanced and needs a bit more of a fade to become average, but Bundy maintained his fastball arm-speed and it has potential as a #3 offering.
But what made it all work was the same thing that made him so impressive as a hitter. Bundy showed great poise and competitiveness. He also showed near-MLB caliber command of both his fastball and curveball.
Bundy got nickel and dimed by the Lake Wales hitters a little bit. They have a very good high school lineup who didn’t back down against the 1st-rounder, and they actually put together a four-run rally late in the game. I think Bundy’s command actually hurt him because the Wales hitters got comfortable in the box and were able to eke out some aluminum bat hits by just sticking the bat out and going the other way. Some defensive miscues by Owasso also hurt his cause.
I can see Bundy being “wilder” and throwing inside when he gets to pro ball. He doesn’t need to here, but it will allow him to take it up a notch at the next level.
I heard one scout compare him to a young Jeremy Bonderman and another to a righthanded version of Mike Hampton when those big leaguers were in high school. I have another “stout” prep pitcher to compare him to, Chad Billingsley, who was a 1st-round pick out of Defiance HS in Ohio by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003.
None were considered projectable because of they lacked height and had matured bodies, but they all got to the big leagues quick. I like Bundy’s package better than Bonderman’s and Billingsley’s at the same stage.
There is definitely a drawback, what you see is what you get because there’s very little projection with Bundy. His body is about maxed out, but what he shows you already is quite impressive.
To compare him to Archie Bradley from the night before, you can debate which one will be the better pitcher in 5-6 years, but I feel safe in saying that Bundy gets to the big leagues faster. From what I’ve seen this week, he’s my bet to get to the big leagues first among this high school class.
And I hope he ends up in a National League system where he can also hit once he gets to AA.