A wipe out slider with a 4.79 ERA? Low 90s fastball with n 8.8 K/9 rate? Who is Dylan Bundy and why are some of his stats so confusing? Here is a deep dive into Dylan Bundy, what he throws, and how he might help the Angels be more relevant in 2020. I’m a bit lukewarm on Bundy but he certainly has potential. In fact, given this current rotation, Bundy could be a top of rotation starter. You can decide if that’s a good or a bad thing.
First - the slider:
Dylan Bundy, Filthy 81mph Slider. pic.twitter.com/rI8ddD6eZm— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 11, 2019
That’s the stuff nightmares are made of. Bundy has one of the nastiest sliders in MLB. According to Baseball Savant, Bundy has a 47.9% whiff rate on his slider, an elite 24.2% put away rate, and a .152 BAA. That is some good stuff right there. A slider isn’t the only pitch Bundy throws, and in fact, he throw 5 different pitches:
Over his past two seasons, Bundy has a 15-30 record but it’s important to remember a few things. First, he played in the high slugging bandbox stadium AL East. Second, he had one of the worst defenses in baseball behind him. But even given that, his FIP over the past two seasons has been 5.17 and 4.73 - not exactly inspiring. He also still gives up home runs at one of the highest rates in baseball. Bundy’s lowest career FIP was 4.38 in 2017, a year he also had his lowest BABIP of .273, showing perhaps a little bit of luck.
Bundy did something right in 2019 with his high home run rate. In a year where home runs totals went through the roof, Bundy decreased his HR allowed rate by 25%. Not an easy task in the AL East and with baseballs nearly having wings. Moving to the less HR friendly Big A, Bundy could continue that trend.
So how does an improving pitcher with a nasty slider end up with no so great numbers in terms of ERA, FIP, and the like? One problem, of course, is his fastball. Below is a heat map of that pitch:
Yep. That’s not where you want to throw a low 90s fastball. Opponents slugged .645 against Bundy’s fastball in 2019, a pitch he threw 42.4% of the time. NEED MOAR SLIDERZ!
Below are his splits vs. righties and lefties courtesy of Brooks Baseball:
Other interesting splits include his 1.88 ERA with the bases empty in 2019 (86.1 IP) and his 10.67 ERA with runners in scoring position (43 IP). Obviously those are not good trends and something that hopefully Mickey Calloway can fix. Another split that stands out is his 6.20 ERA in day games vs. 3.93 in night games. If Bundy only pitches at night with the bases empty, we could have ourselves a Cy Young here.
So what is the sum of all these parts? Dylan Bundy certainly has the ability to be a capable pitcher for the Angels. Time will tell how much a change of scenery and pitching coach can unlock some of this potential we see here. Is he going to be an ace? No. But it’s not unreasonable to think he could come in and win 10-15 games and put up an ERA in the high 3’s. He’s not the only answer for the Angels pitching woes, but he can be a piece of the puzzle.