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  • How Long of a Leash Should Dylan Bundy Get?


    Cody Pirkl

    Some say you learn more from losing than from winning. 2021 in that case should have provided the Twins with an exorbitant amount of knowledge. Will we see them learn from their 2021 meltdown?

    Image courtesy of Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

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    On Wednesday night in Baltimore, Dylan Bundy took away any possibility of a Twins win for the second straight start. While recording just 11 outs, Bundy surrendered 11 hits, two walks, two home runs, and nine earned runs. For the second straight start, he allowed a string of five-plus hitters to reach base safely without recording an out, a feat that’s rare enough to wonder whether it could possibly be a fluke. After dazzling in his first three starts, Bundy has absolutely cratered his season line.

     

    The result of this is a reality check for Twins fans on a pitcher who’s failing to crack 90 mph and posted an ERA over 6.00 in 2021. Having signed for $5m, Bundy should have never been expected to provide premium innings, even after his first three starts. The question is whether the Twins' front office has received this same reality check.

    The issues were plentiful for the 2021 Twins, but starting pitching was arguably #1 on the list. The signings of J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker, whom the Twins had identified as values in the offseason, turned out to be two of the worst pitchers in all of baseball and provided the Twins with a predetermined loss every 4th and 5th day. Despite this fact, Shoemaker remained in the rotation until the end of June and Happ remained until he was somehow traded at the deadline. Both proved that pitching signings of their tier simply don’t warrant a whole lot of patience. Neither has a job in Major League Baseball in 2022.

    Context is key in this scenario, as by the time they need to move on became abundantly clear, the Twins season was effectively over already. The farm system also suffered from a wide range of pitching injuries, leaving the Twins with several bullpen days per week and no replacement options for the rotation. In short, the goal became crossing off innings rather than filling them in a meaningful way. In 2022, things have to be different.

    Two starts make up just a small percentage of a pitcher’s season-long workload, and plenty of high-quality arms will struggle for such a short stretch. For that reason it’s not yet time to make any significant moves with Dylan Bundy. That being said, it is time for the Twins to feel some skepticism towards the 29-year-old right-hander. After watching three starts and wondering whether any kind of success could continue given Bundy’s visible lack of stuff, these last two starts may be the beginning of our answer.

    Unlike 2021, the Twins simply have too many alternatives to allow Bundy to become a deciding factor in their 2022 season. Their financial commitment to him is too low, as are the odds of him factoring into any long-term plans. With him headed to the COVID IL, we should get to see more from Josh Winder for another start or two, although it’s very likely Bundy gets a chance to reclaim his spot in the rotation. In the meantime, if Josh Winder continues to stake his claim to a rotation spot, it may leave the Twins set up to act quickly if Bundy doesn’t rebound.

    For what it’s worth, they’ve shown early signs of learning from their mistakes in 2021. After sticking with Alex Colomé through one of the worst months by a reliever in franchise history, the Twins were very quick to pull the plug on Tyler Duffey in high leverage this season after his early struggles. I would guess their lack of patience with a homegrown former staple of their bullpen foreshadows a very short leash for a one-year bounceback candidate in the rotation.

    At this point one thing is certain, Dylan Bundy is currently the last man on the totem pole that is the Twins rotation. The wounds that 2021 left in Twins Territory are still fresh in the minds of fans as many already wonder “How many more starts can we let this happen?”. For a front office that was seemingly so eager to show off the arrival of their pitching pipeline, my best bet would be “Not much longer” as the Twins attempt to make a worst to first rebound in 2022. How long of a leash should Dylan Bundy get?


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    Realistically he will get 3 more starts before serious consideration of removing and release. 
     

    His next start againstHouston then in Cleveland and again in KC.  If you can’t get Cleveland and KC hitters out your in big trouble.  
     

    He’s also add zero value to the bullpen and if removed from the rotation would likely mean DFA 

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    Considering he just tested positive the day after his last outing, maybe that last night can be excused. Once Ober and Gray are back though "somebody" needs to be dropped from the rotation. Eventually this pans out as Ryan, Gray, Ober, Winder, and maybe that fifth day is rotated between Archer, Paddock, and Bundy or a shared day. One of those three needs to take that fifth spot and be capable of giving them 6 innings. I'm hoping that's Paddock. I like watching Archer pitch but this 6 man rotation isn't doing anyone any good if he can't go 6 innings. And please, pitch Ryan every fifth day. None of this 6 day crap. If it means skipping someone else so be it.

    Edited by The Mad King
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    I have no patience for reclamation vets, when we have such great pitching prospects. Winder has now established that he belongs in the rotation. And I am happy to have all of the low budget veterans struggle for the fifth spot on the rotation. But can the front office and management admit that our own players are better and cut their losses

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    If this teams history is an indicator of things to come there will be at least one pitcher on the IL much, if not most, of the season so we are going to need all 7 of them at one point or another just as we have through the first 27 games.  We may want to put him in long relief, but I would wait to DFA him until closer to the trade deadline and maybe we can buy this year.  In the meantime, The Mad King just might be right and being ill made him weak and we will see better days.  I would go for a handful of more starts and go to long relief if it doesn't get any better.  Just my extremely humble opinion.  

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    I would only give Bundy one or two more starts.  The fact that the Twins are contending is vital.  The team can't afford to give away games.  Plus when it becomes obvious he is struggling in a game, get him out of there.  His start with Twins is very similar to his season with the Angels last year.  We can't have a game become an automatic loss based on who the starting pitcher is.  Way too much of that last year.  There's plenty of depth.  Winder has already earned a spot in the rotation.  If Bundy proves he can't get guys out with an 88 mph fastball it's time to cut bait and concentrate on the pitchers that will contribute to wins and not losses.

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    The defense behind him in Baltimore was as poor as any game this season. If we are going to use stats things like strike out rate and walk rate “stabilize” around 170 batters faced. We will see that reflected in is xFIP which is currently 3.46. Launch angle and hit distance stabilize early also. It will be a little longer for exit velocity. His current xERA from statcast is 3.39. Those are the numbers I would pay attention to as he gets to the 8-10 start range if I want to project forward his performance. 

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    How long should his leash be? 0 inches, because he should be kept in a kennel (aka the bullpen or the waiver wire). 

    I’m confused by people wondering who’ll step into the 5th starter role because Paddack has been OUTSTANDING with a 3.15 ERA that looks entirely sustainable. He looks like a legitimate  #3 on a playoff team, far better than Bailey Ober who everyone seems to have locked into a mid-rotation spot when he returns. 

    We should run with a 6-man rotation of Ryan, Gray, Paddack, Winder, Ober, and Archer for as long as we can until someone is injured. Either throw Bundy in the bullpen to see if he’s capable of coming in after Archer’s obligatorily short starts or keep someone like Cole Sands in the bullpen to piggyback off of Archer. 

    I also can’t wait to see some of the other young studs like SWR, Canterino, Varland, etc.

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    my opinion is that he gets 1 or 2 more starts,   Ober you can send on a rehab assignment, so there will be some time.  Gray will return to the rotation.  When Ober is ready, if things do not improve Bundy will be toast.  We cannot afford to waste time with marginal starters.  Winder has certainly earned a position in the rotation.  

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    Depends on how long Gray and Ober (or others, god forbid) are injured. There is some rotation depth at the big league level but after that you're asking whether Bundy is better than Devin Smeltzer, Ronny Henriquez or Cole Sands. As a 7th starter Bundy isn't that bad.

    BTW - I don't have a lot of confidence that Archer will end the season in the rotation either.

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    I thought the Twins were crazy when they signed him. Emergency starter/long reliever is the only role I see for him. It is being proven out that we have several other better options to start. Ryan, Gray, Winder, Ober, & Paddock should be the 5. If they want to stick with 6 then include Archer before Bundy IMHO.

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    I posted this in another thread but it might fit better here to see Bundy in context of the other starters.

    It is early to project future performance based on the sample. Only Bundy and Ryan have faced over 100 batters. Once they get to the 150-200 range xERA and xFIP will be more useful but they are they best indicators we have early in the season. 

    xERA from Statcast is taken from xWOBA which includes things like launch angle and exit velocity. Here are the ranks.

    2.66 Paddack, 2.95 Ryan, 3.03 Winder, 3.39 Bundy, 5.26 Archer, 5.39 Ober

    xFIP use things like strikeout and walk rate which also stabilize early.

    2.90 Winder, 3.19 Paddack, 3.46 Bundy, 3.72 Ryan, 4.19 Archer, 4.44 Ober

    I would be looking at those numbers in 3-4 more starts.

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    Given potential injuries and that it's early May, I'd guess 2-4 more starts like others have said.

    But there are a few other issues.

    1) This FO isn't "traditional." Closer by committee, openers and, now, a 6-person rotation.

    2) The inning limits we'll see on young arms.

    Those two factors make it hard to predict. I personally think the team will stick with a rotation of 6 as long as possible to limit innings. But if Winder is on a strict limit, he may end up in the pen regardless of performance. Or perhaps SP to bookend the year with a switch to RP midseason to limit innings and then build back up for postseason.

     

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    I wasn't crazy when they signed Bundy but I thought they had a plan. He had some success in the shorten season and in the beginning of 2021 so if they could limit his innings I thought that they could capitalize on some of his quality innings. When Bundy came out of the gates very productive I was very pleased. But when he was begging for more innings and they were giving them to him and people were lauding him as the ace of the rotation I became very leary. I knew he couldn't maintain that success and that he'd eventually fall, but not this early. 

    I don't see a lot of upside w/ Bundy and I don't have a lot of patience with him. I don't see him in the BP either because the problem isnt him peterring out and then gets smacked, he gets smacked from the get go. The hitters have figured him out and he's not adapting. We have Winder & Smeltzer that are pitching well, so I don't see any reason to keep him. But I'm not Wes, if he thinks that Bundy's problem is easy to fix and during this time off  if he can fix it then I yield to his expertise. But if FO is doubling down on their mistake again, the fans won't stand for it.

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    42 minutes ago, 4twinsJA said:

    Bundy was signed to give time for Winder to be ready for MLB. Winder is ready and pitching well, Paddack has looked good as well. Archer seems to have higher upside than Bundy as well. Bundy does not fit in BP. Maybe a couple more starts.

    Good point.  And we also have to remember that Bundy was our first toe in the pool, so to speak, when we started to rebuild the pitching staff.  Gray, Paddock, and Archer all came after, leaving Bundy as the 6th man.  Winder is a pleasant surprise, giving us 7 possible starters which is nice, considering all the injuries this team has every year, but it will come time eventually to fish or cut bait, and Bundy will likely be the one cut.  

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    2 hours ago, jorgenswest said:

    I posted this in another thread but it might fit better here to see Bundy in context of the other starters.

     

    It is early to project future performance based on the sample. Only Bundy and Ryan have faced over 100 batters. Once they get to the 150-200 range xERA and xFIP will be more useful but they are they best indicators we have early in the season. 

    xERA from Statcast is taken from xWOBA which includes things like launch angle and exit velocity. Here are the ranks.

    2.66 Paddack, 2.95 Ryan, 3.03 Winder, 3.39 Bundy, 5.26 Archer, 5.39 Ober

    xFIP use things like strikeout and walk rate which also stabilize early.

    2.90 Winder, 3.19 Paddack, 3.46 Bundy, 3.72 Ryan, 4.19 Archer, 4.44 Ober

    I would be looking at those numbers in 3-4 more starts.

    Except we also have last year with Bundy. This isn't an anomaly.....

    I do agree that saying we know for sure the young guys are good is jumping the gun, even if I think they are.... But this is Bundy

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    4 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Except we also have last year with Bundy. This isn't an anomaly.....

    I do agree that saying we know for sure the young guys are good is jumping the gun, even if I think they are.... But this is Bundy

    I agree. We should look back multiple years including 2020 when he had Cy Young votes. I also agree about jumping the gun.

    The Twins saw some reason to sign him and must have felt they could make changes to help him be successful. That takes time. I think there is more to be encouraged about than discouraged in the peripheral data. Without question I am more encouraged by Ryan, Paddack and Winder and I have more faith in Gray. I would still see at least three more starts from Bundy and if that time the xERA and xFIP are well off league average I would move on.

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    You’d think Bundy could boost his velocity a bit if he didn’t have to pitch five plus innings as a starter.  Could we expect more effectiveness out of the pen?  A crafty veteran could be a big boost to the bullpen. 

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    Despite the 2nd year option, I believe he was really signed for depth, and to be a place holder. If he does better than that and earns his option being picked up, it's a bonus for the Twins. Even in a good, healthy season you will need 7-9 SP over the course of a season, and the Twins have that right now. Bundy is a part of that, for the moment. 

    In addition to injuries, there is a real innings concern this year due to young arms as well as Archer's comeback. I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple "tired arm" IR stays here and there. 

    Bundy had a really bad game. Then he had another in which he was probably ill, and the defense had a lousy game behind him, offering no favors. The game could have been very different with better play.

    You absolutely give him a few more starts to see what you really have. He's not the pitcher he was in his first 3 starts, and I think we all knew that. But I don't think he's as bad as his past 2 appearances either. I can't say exactly how many starts he gets because  there are too many variables. But the good news is depth and upcoming depth will allow the Twins to walk away if necessary, unlike last year when they almost had no choice. 

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    I’m not sure about what should happen. Injuries will likely decide. However they should NOT keep the 6 man rotation which allows for equal starts for Ryan and Winder as Bundy and Archer. Give your best pitchers the most starts. 

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    9 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

    I have no patience for reclamation vets, when we have such great pitching prospects. Winder has now established that he belongs in the rotation. And I am happy to have all of the low budget veterans struggle for the fifth spot on the rotation. But can the front office and management admit that our own players are better and cut their losses

    Winder will be a steady force in our rotation.  I can't stress this enough, he is on a innings limit this year.  He is doing exactly 💯 what he should be doing.  So are many others.  You do know our best pitcher Ryan wasn't one of our own?  But acquired from outside of the organization.  What's your solution?

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    Bundy can still get guys out, if he sticks to the new plan, which is for him to be an off-speed pitcher with an occasional fast ball. When he tries to rare back and fire heat, he gets killed. 

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    Unless they go to a seven man rotation, there’s really only two options once Ober comes back: DFA or bullpen. 
     

    It would send such a terrible message to the fans, but worse, the team full of young players to give him a spot over Ryan, Ober, Paddack and Winder.

    The only reason I’d even contemplate giving him another start over the young guys is if there’s a sense that a team desperate for rotation depth would be willing to trade bullpen help, and one post-Covid start is needed for an auditions.

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    I'd guess another start or two or until Ober comes back and May ends (which means the Twins will be limited to 13 pitchers). I will say, that though I'm not shocked at Bundy's coming-back-to-Earth, I've actually been very impressed with both his team attitude, and frank honesty (especially concerning his last outing).

    I'm kind of hoping the Twins talk to him about trying the bullpen as a route to extend both his time on this team, and possibly his career. The short outings might give him just enough boost on the fastball to make the other stuff play, and if productive he might be great to have on the staff for off-field reasons as well. (But it is easier to run that experiment before pitcher numbers reduce from 14 to 13 in June.)

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    4 hours ago, nicksaviking said:

    Unless they go to a seven man rotation, there’s really only two options once Ober comes back: DFA or bullpen. 
     

    It would send such a terrible message to the fans, but worse, the team full of young players to give him a spot over Ryan, Ober, Paddack and Winder.

    The only reason I’d even contemplate giving him another start over the young guys is if there’s a sense that a team desperate for rotation depth would be willing to trade bullpen help, and one post-Covid start is needed for an auditions.

    Option 4: another pitcher is injured/covid

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