When Dylan Bundy debuts for the Baltimore Orioles at some point in the next few nights, he'll become the fourth player from the 2011 draft class to reach the majors, after Trevor Bauer, Cody Allen and Carter Capps. His promotion may have been partly prompted by Tuesday night's 18-inning marathon, but the move makes sense beyond providing an additional fresh arm for the next few days.
Bundy, 19, was so effective earlier this season and in spring training that scouts were arguing he should have started the year in Double-A or higher, which Bundy did not contradict by tearing apart the low Class A South Atlantic League while operating on very limited pitch counts.
The Orioles will have to balance the benefit they could get from using Bundy in leveraged situations against the need to protect his arm and avoid hurting his development as a starter, which most likely would preclude using him on back-to-back days. Bundy rarely pitched on fewer than six days' rest this year -- I count two such outings -- so keeping him on a somewhat regular schedule in which he has plenty of time between appearances is key. That would allow the Orioles to stretch him out for multiple innings if the situation calls for it -- for example, in mop-up work if their starter struggles early, with the idea that Bundy is good enough that he could keep the team in the game long enough for the offense to claw back into it.
The obstacle with Bundy may come back to the strange way the Orioles handled him this year, prohibiting from using his cutter, which was his best off-speed pitch as an amateur, under the mistaken belief that it reduces fastball velocity. Without that pitch, Bundy was vulnerable to left-handed batters in high Class A and Double-A, and he'll need to throw it to get those hitters out in the majors. If the time away from the pitch doesn't affect his ability to throw and command it, there's no harm done, but it could also take him some time to regain his feel for it.
If Bundy has the cutter and proves he can get hitters on both sides of the plate out, he should be a consideration for their possible postseason bullpen, over more experienced but more limited right-handers like Tommy Hunter or Steve Johnson.