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  • Bundy Burning Through His Welcome


    Ted Schwerzler

    Dylan Bundy was the first prominent free agent signing for the Minnesota Twins this offseason, coming to an agreement with the club prior to the lockout taking place. He was coming off a lackluster year with the Los Angeles Angels but the hope was he could stabilize the back of the rotation. It hasn’t worked out that way.

    Image courtesy of Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

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    Early this season Dylan Bundy came out firing. He allowed just a single run through his first 15 1/3 innings this season and posted a dazzling 0.59 ERA. Then came two starts in which he allowed six and nine runs before going on the Covid list. Maybe you could chalk up the performance to effects from the virus, but things haven’t gotten better.

    Blasted by the Blue Jays in his latest outing, Bundy owns a 5.29 ERA with a 5.44 FIP over his last four starts. If you want to include the two complete blowups prior to that streak, it’s an 8.44 ERA giving up 26 runs in his last 26 2/3 innings. Any way you cut it, and if you could cut it in a positive way I’d love to see it, the results are ugly.

    What’s problematic for both Bundy and the Twins is that there simply may be no end in sight. Bundy is not a velocity pitcher anymore by any means, and his velocity against Toronto was actually the high point of his season. 

    The stuff simply isn’t playing in any juncture. The chase rate against Toronto was the lowest he’s generated in any game this season, and his zone contact rates the past five games are all at 85% or high with two being at exactly 100%. He’s throwing some of the least amount of first pitch strikes on the season and he’s generating whiffs less as the season goes on.

    The flip side is what’s being done to the balls put in play. Bundy’s allowing an ever-increasing hard hit rate, and has been over 42% in three of his last five starts after being below 30% in each of his first four starts, with three of them being at 20% or below.

    Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson find themselves in somewhat of a pickle at the moment though. Bundy is healthy and that’s more than can be said for a host of Twins arms. With Sonny Gray on the injured list, Chris Paddack done for the year, and an ever-evolving door of who hits the skids next, it’s tough to put down available starting arms.

    The emergence of Devin Smeltzer has been a significant positive for the Twins, but more depth hasn’t really taken shape yet on the farm. Cole Sands has come up and been hit around, while Jordan Balazovic looks out of sorts at Triple-A. Maybe the tides turn as the season goes on, but the refrain right now has to be about going to battle with the guys you have.

    A $5 million deal is hardly a glowing endorsement of Bundy’s expectations or future prognosis in Minnesota. It isn’t negligible as a whole though, and he’ll be given ample opportunity to work through things as long as the Twins remain in the driver’s seat of the division. It’s becoming more clear though, that Bundy is tough to trust any time you run him out there, even if alternative options are not present.

    How long of a leash should Bundy have at this point? If you’re replacing him, where are you turning to do so?

     

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    He is in the rotation until we get a full rotation again and someone steps up and takes him out.  But who.  I had hoped Balazovic would be here and I thought Canterino might be ready to jump up, I had hoped Winder would stay healthy. And I hoped Ober would continue what he did last year. And we hoped Gray would lead the staff!  No such luck.  So we have Archer, Bundy, Smeltzer, Sands, and ??? And I do not want to touch the bullpen. And still we are in first place. 

    What next?  

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    39 minutes ago, HrbieFan said:

    How long are Gray, Winder and Ryan expected to be out? Not much to see at AAA, how long before SWR gets bumped to St Paul? 

    I do not know about Gray or Winder, not much updates, but Ryan is supposed to get a rehab start soon coming of the COVID list.  

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    1 hour ago, Mahoning said:

    Apparently Madison Bumgarner is on the trading block. The Twins have some prospects. Kiriloff? And Bundy's future is not bright.

     

    Mad Bum numbers on their face look fine, but a deeper look suggests he may be set for a poor run. His first 6 starts were great, but since he has been okay.  I would not give up Kiriloff for him.  I would be willing to take a flier on him over Bundy right now, but not Kiriloff.  Mad Bum is giving up hard hit rate of 46%, and a K-rate of 16% with a walk rate of 8%.  with a FIP of 5.01.  All of Bundy's numbers in those categories are better.  I would just be worried with Mad Bum too, he may be getting by with a lot of luck and will get blown up soon. 

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    1 hour ago, Riverbrian said:

    Bulletin board material for tonight? 

    Archer's last 2 starts were good after that article on him. Buxton's had 2 good games since the article calling for him to go on the IL.

    Let's go!!!

     

    11 minutes ago, Trov said:

    I do not know about Gray or Winder, not much updates, but Ryan is supposed to get a rehab start soon coming of the COVID list.  

     

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    The last time Bundy pitched I had to catch the start of the game on Cbssportsline, which shows what pitch has been thrown and how fast it was.  I noticed that nothing was very fast, but more noticeably, everything was almost the same speed, coming in 89-92 mph. That won't work. Otherwise, could he be tipping his pitches? Does he have an injury he hasn't reported? Whatever it is, I hope he can find a fix and soon. We need him now

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    Bundy has to have near-perfect command to be effective. When he doesn't he'll get hit around.

    Of the starters who should be available at some time this month, here is my list: 1) Gray. 2) Ryan. 3) Ober. 4) Smeltzer. 5) Archer. 6) Winder. 7) Bundy. Getting everyone healthy has been like herding cats, but if they can all take regular turns, I don't see a place for Bundy. 

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    As the rotation sits we have no other options injuries have occurred and the IL is full of starting pitchers.  
     

    Here to hoping Bundy can find some of that April magic.

     

    Our other options at this point are Aaron Sánchez or Chi Chi for 3 innings!

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    That's the problem - we don't have other options. My guess is that if Ryan and Winder's rehab starts go well, they will both be up to start next week for the end of the Seattle series or in Arizona. Until then, we have to keep Bundy and Sands in the rotation because we simply don't have anybody else. Gray isn't available until 6/14 and also may get a rehab start. Ober 6/18.  It seems like the best case scenario is we have is to have a full rotation by the Arizona series a week from this weekend. That means Bundy gets at least 2 starts - tonight against the Yankees and next week against the Mariners. Even with that, we will need to start a Chi Chi type or have a bulllpen game this weekend against Tampa. 

    Bottom line, Bundy probably has 2 more starts to show he can stay at the MLB level. Doubtful he will, so I expect him to be put on the IL or DFA'd by the end of next week. Tonight is critical for him. 

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    The article states that Bundy as the first "prominent" free agent signing this season.  I guess Ted and I have different definitions of prominent, and maybe the Twins do as well.

    Was it possible that Bundy could have some success - yes.  Was it probably, no.

    Is it OK that the Twins signed Bundy in hopes that he could have some success - yes.  Was it OK that the Twins need / needed to rely on Bundy to have success - NO.

    That said, when the Twins signed Bundy I commented that I would be pleasantly surprised if he was on the roster at the end of May.  Honestly I feel he is only still on the roster due to all the issues with the starting staff.

    I also fully expect that he will get blasted by the Yankee hitters tonight, and I would be pleasantly surprised if that is not the case.

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    Let’s be accurate on Bundy.  He had 9 starts with 3 awful ones.  
     4/29 6 innings with 6 ER.  
    5/4 3.2 innings with 9 ER                               6/4 2.1 innings with 5 ER

    12 innings with 20 ER. His other 6 starts are for 30 innings and 6 ER.  
    While Bundy is walking a tight rope he is decent more starts then not.  The implosion starts are a problem but if he can keep it to one per month and be solid the rest of the month, we will come out ok on his signing.  While I do think he is the 5th starter at this point, he hasn’t pitched himself out yet.  His start against the Yankees needs to be watched closely by Rocco and a quick hook like the one he gave Smeltzer in his last start may be needed.  I expect Bundy should be able to go 5-6 innings against the Mariners.  I expect Bundy to get more starts unles both Yanks and Mariners clobber him before 3 innings. Health and the ability to go 5 innings will buy you an extra 5-6 starts into July.  I don’t expect Bundy to finish the season in the rotation.

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    Bundy's leash is directly tied to the health of the rotation. If we had Ober, Ryan, & Gray healthy right now, he would be potentially getting skipped and they would be looking at whether he could function as a long man in the bullpen. With all of the injuries, they're going to try and see if they can get enough out of him to keep the team competitive. If he doesn't, then I suspect they will cut bait on him if/when more guys get healthy. I mean, in another month Maeda might be throwing off a mound again.

    At least there's almost no chance the team picks up his option. I wasn't a fan of the signing, but as a veteran depth option to battle for the 5th spot...well, ok. He's not looking like he can get it done, and the leash is getting shorter. I'm fine to move on from him, but might as well wait to get some more guys back first.

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    This would be easier if Archer was the one who was struggling because I think his stuff will play well in the pen. Bundy doesn't have stuff though so I think he'd get rocked there too.

    I think once you get enough of the starters back you just cut bait. I know the Twins don't WANT to turn to Canterino, SWR and Varland next time they're in a bind, but it's unlikely they'd be worse than Bundy, and they're going to need to get a look at some point anyway.

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    Mad loves his horses in AZ, he might have a no trade clause. I wouldn't want him anyway.

    Bundy has a weak arm, he's dependent on trying to get his velo up to an acceptible level and work on location. Bundy shouldn't ever be allowed to go over 5 innings. Over 5 his arm weakens & velo quickly comes down and stays down. With a weak arm he has trouble with location which makes pitches very hittable. 

    At the start of the season, he was doing great because his arm was fresh, He started bragging how strong he was. Shortly after he was extended to 6 & 7 innings you see his decent because arm could not sustain those early results.

    My advice (which many will not like) is dial him way back and let let his arm get rested up. Then keep him at a 5 inning limit. That what we got when they signed him, sorry.

      

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    4 hours ago, Mike h said:

    The last time Bundy pitched I had to catch the start of the game on Cbssportsline, which shows what pitch has been thrown and how fast it was.  I noticed that nothing was very fast, but more noticeably, everything was almost the same speed, coming in 89-92 mph. That won't work. Otherwise, could he be tipping his pitches? Does he have an injury he hasn't reported? Whatever it is, I hope he can find a fix and soon. We need him now

    Bundy's velocities 
    4 Seam Fastball = 90mph
    Sinking Fastball = 90mph
    Changeup = 82mph
    Slider = 80mph
    Curve = 73mph

    Plenty of separation there. 

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    I'm not a Bundy fan or fan of the signing, but he's had two bad starts, which followed two good starts, which followed 2 bad and 2 good. 

    He's up and down and that's to be expected for a bargain free agent starting pitcher. xFIP on Bundy is 4.01. A guy has a bad week or two and the pitchforks really come out around here. I guess that's fine. After a good week or two, the player becomes the next sure fire MVP as well.

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    5 hours ago, Trov said:

    Mad Bum numbers on their face look fine, but a deeper look suggests he may be set for a poor run. His first 6 starts were great, but since he has been okay.  I would not give up Kiriloff for him.  I would be willing to take a flier on him over Bundy right now, but not Kiriloff.  Mad Bum is giving up hard hit rate of 46%, and a K-rate of 16% with a walk rate of 8%.  with a FIP of 5.01.  All of Bundy's numbers in those categories are better.  I would just be worried with Mad Bum too, he may be getting by with a lot of luck and will get blown up soon. 

    Agreed, Bumgarner looks a lot like Bundy except with which hand he throws with. No interest. No more washed up vets, the young guys in the system have far outpitched them this year. And last year. Pretty much every washed up vet the Twins sign pitch as expected in fact. I'm not sure why people continue to be hesitant to give the young guys a shot when all you have to do is look at the roster and see the odds of the young guys overperforming is significantly higher than the grizzled vets. Sort the Twins pitching staff by age, draw the line between the ages of 27 and 28. It's not even close. Heck, handicap it for the vets and draw it between 26 and 27 and give them Griffen Jax out of pity. Still not close. Youth movement full steam ahead.

    Also, Bumgarner is owed about 50M through the 2024 season, it wouldn't take Kirilloff to acquire him. AZ should have to throw in one of their top prospects to get another team to take him off of their hands.

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    With Ryan and Winder nearly back, Bundy's upcoming start could be his last with the Twins. Hopefully Gray will also be back in about a week. Gray, Ryan, Ober, Archer, Winder, and Smeltzer should be the rotation going forward.

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    My hope is that Bundy’s tenure is tied to his innings completed tonight:  1 inning = gone in one week.  2 innings = two weeks…

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    2 hours ago, bean5302 said:

    I'm not a Bundy fan or fan of the signing, but he's had two bad starts, which followed two good starts, which followed 2 bad and 2 good. 

    He's up and down and that's to be expected for a bargain free agent starting pitcher. xFIP on Bundy is 4.01. A guy has a bad week or two and the pitchforks really come out around here. I guess that's fine. After a good week or two, the player becomes the next sure fire MVP as well.

    0 quality starts in 9 chances. His ERA is north of 8 in his last six starts and it's because he's giving up tons of hard contact. It's been more down than up recently. The relationship always had an expiration date. 

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    3 hours ago, bean5302 said:

    Bundy's velocities 
    4 Seam Fastball = 90mph
    Sinking Fastball = 90mph
    Changeup = 82mph
    Slider = 80mph
    Curve = 73mph

    Plenty of separation there. 

    Where do you find these stats? I wanted to verify what I thought I saw  before I posted, but couldn't find where to look. Thanks for your help

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    2 minutes ago, Mike h said:

    Where do you find these stats? I wanted to verify what I thought I saw  before I posted, but couldn't find where to look. Thanks for your help

    Dylan Bundy's Fangraphs page 
    https://www.fangraphs.com/players/dylan-bundy/12917/stats?position=P
    Scroll down about 1/2 way to the category "Pitch Info Pitch Velocity" You can hover over the heading fields to translate what the symbols mean vFA = "vFA - Fourseam Fastball Velocity - (Pitch Info)"

    If you're curious about game to game performances, near the top of player profiles, you can hover over "Game Log" in the main header, then select the "Pitch Type" header which will appear below the Game Logs header.

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    1 hour ago, KirbyDome89 said:

    0 quality starts in 9 chances. His ERA is north of 8 in his last six starts and it's because he's giving up tons of hard contact. It's been more down than up recently. The relationship always had an expiration date. 

    Quality starts are hard to come by with a manager who is notorious for a quick hook regardless of how guys are pitching.

    Ryan 4/8
    Paddack 0/5
    Ober 1/7
    Gray 2/7
    Winder 2/3
    Smeltzer 1/5
    Archer 0/11
    Gonzalez 0/1
    Sands 0/2
    The entire Twins pitching staff has a combined 10 quality starts in 58 games.

    Besides that, "quality start" isn't even a good metric the way it's designed because a 3ER 6 inning performance is much worse than a 5 inning 2 earned run performance in regard to the likelihood a game is won or lost. Bundy has 4 starts of 5.0+ innings and less than 2 earned runs allowed.

    Bundy has 3 truly bad games in 9 starts this year. He has 3 games with an xFIP over 5.00 as well.

    I'm still not a huge fan of Bundy, but intentionally cherry picking a (bad) stat for which almost nobody in MLB would deliver good results is disingenuous. 

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