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Can Dylan Bundy Rebound With the Angels in 2020?

Dylan Bundy spent his entire career prior to 2020 with the Orioles, but now he has a new team. Now that Bundy is with the Angels, can the former top 10 pick rebound after two trying seasons in Baltimore? Let’s take a look.

Dylan Bundy with Orioles

Bundy’s career with the Orioles was an interesting one. Drafted fourth overall by the O’s in 2011, Bundy raced to the Majors, making his MLB debut in September 2012, fifteen months after he was originally selected. But then the setbacks came, as injury after injury kept Bundy out of regular action until 2016, when he finally established himself as a regular starter in the Majors.

Bundy’s first full season in the Majors was a solid one (10 W, 4.02 ERA, 104 K in 109.2 IP), as he helped the Orioles make the AL Wild Card Game in 2016. But after another decent season in 2017 (13 W, 4.24 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 152 K in 169.2 IP), the walls collapsed on Bundy in 2018. The Oklahoma native did strike out 184 batters over 171.2 IP (9.6 K/9), but Bundy recorded a 5.45 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and yielded 41 home runs (most in MLB) that season. That was largely due to poor command, as he left too many pitchers over the middle of the plate.

20 of Bundy’s 41 home runs allowed in 2018 were off the four-seam fastball. Nine were off the slider, and eight were off the changeup. (via Baseball Savant)

 

2019 was a better season for Bundy in terms of the home run, as he allowed 12 less dingers last season than he did in 2018, and his Hard Hit% rate went down by almost six percentage points last season. The 27-year old also continued to strike out batters consistently, as he K’d 162 batters over 161.2 IP. However, Bundy’s walk totals went up last season, as he walked batters at a rate of 3.2 BB/9, which was .4 higher than in 2018.

Bundy now heads to Anaheim, a team that was in desperate need for starting pitching, but can he improve with the Angels? There’s a good chance he could and here’s why.

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Can Bundy Rebound With Angels?

First off, the fact that Bundy is out of Baltimore has to be beneficial for a couple of reasons. Aside from the fact that he’s now out of a tough situation with the Orioles, a team currently in the middle of a rebuild, Bundy now leaves Camden Yards, a hitter-friendly environment that not’s friendly for fly-ball pitchers. Despite Bundy’s FB% rate going down last season (23.4%), Bundy’s fly-ball rates over the previous two seasons hovered around 30%. Leaving Camden Yards should definitely help in that regards, and another plus is that a better group of defenders will be behind him in Anaheim.

Second, Bundy’s stuff is still quite good. Despite Bundy’s fastball nowadays only sitting in the low-90’s, it has good spin and he can use it to set up his two main secondary pitches, his slider and his changeup. Bundy’s slider (which had the thirteen-highest average spin rate according to Baseball Savant), in particular, has been a valuable weapon for the 27-year old. Batters only hit .152 off the slider last season, and in addition to recording 69 of his 162 strikeouts off the pitchh, it had a Whiff% rate of 47.9%. That percentage was the ninth-highest among MLB pitchers who faced 200 or more swings against their slider (in case you’re interested, Blue Jays reliever Ken Giles was first with a Whiff% rate of 54.4%).

So far in Spring Training, Bundy has proved his worth. In 7.1 IP, Bundy has not allowed an earned run, while recording a K/BB ration of 11:1. Yes, this is a small sample size and it is only Spring Training, but this is a positive. And considering that he’s now with a better team and in a different ballpark, there’s a good chance that Bundy will be better statistically. However, the key will be whether or not he can command his pitchers consistently, or otherwise he will have problems, just like in 2018.


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