Entering play today, the Angels stand at 9-20, one of the worst records in the sport and narrowly trailing the Pittsburgh Pirates for that inglorious standing. Not responsible for that abysmal record is starter Dylan Bundy, who has emerged as one of the league’s best through a month of play.
Wrote our very own Brent Maguire a little over two weeks ago: “Expecting Bundy to post a 2.08 ERA and strike out 12 batters for every walk is not feasible. Nobody’s true talent level is that good…but what’s encouraging is Bundy has improved basically across the board. He’s altered his pitch usage to an optimal level for success. He’s created an obvious, applicable game plan against both right-handed hitters (slider-heavy) and left-handed hitters (more change-ups and curveballs). His command has significantly improved, evidenced by hitters watching way more strikes in the zone and chasing more balls out of the zone. This is all very encouraging.”
Through six starts, Bundy can be found on starting pitching leaderboards in fWAR (T-9) with 44 strikeouts (6th) and the 3rd-most innings pitched (38.1). Bundy, known for his durability, has improved himself drastically and broken out in a big way.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Angels are very much open to trading pieces and have “already received numerous inquiries” on Bundy. This news comes on the heels of David Fletcher reportedly being the subject of trade discussions, though the price tag for him is “extraordinarily high”.
Bundy earns $5 million this season and is eligible for arbitration next year, his last year under team control hitting free agency. He was acquired for four minor league pitching prospects, a palatable price for two seasons of even a durable back-end rotation arm, much less a legitimate guy.
It’ll be interesting to see what Bundy’s market looks like, considering that the pandemic will induce front offices to be more risk-averse and Bundy’s price tag is quite affordable for the production he offers. And so the Angels’ dilemma looms: keep Bundy for the 2021 rotation or sell high during turbulent market conditions?