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August 16, 2011

Bundy is an Oriole

The Orioles expected their negotiations with Dylan Bundy to go right down to tonight’s midnight deadline for signing 2011 draft picks.

There were some anxious moments, but the Orioles agreed to terms tonight with the fourth overall pick on a major league contract. Terms aren't available at this point.

It was a successful night all around for director of amateur scouting Joe Jordan, who finalized deals with the team’s top three targets. The Orioles agreed to terms with second-rounder Jason Esposito, a third baseman out of Vanderbilt on a $600,000 deal and sixth-rounder Nick Delmonico, a Tennessee prep third baseman who was the wild card of the team’s draft because he was looking for first-round money.

Overall, the Orioles agreed to terms with 22 of their 50 picks, including nine of their top 10. Jordan said early in the process that he expected to sign about 20 of the club’s selections because the club eliminated one of its teams in the Dominican Republic, along with its Rookie-League Bluefield affiliate.

And Jordan also knew, that a big chunk of the draft budget would go to Bundy, a right-handed starter, considered the best high school arm available. Some baseball pundits labeled him as having the most upside in the draft.

The 18-year-old went 11-0 with an 0.20 ERA as a senior at Owasso High School in Oklahoma, and struck out 595 batters while posting an ERA under 1.00 during his high school career. In 71 innings as a senior, he allowed just two earned runs, 20 hits and five walks while striking out 158. As a hitter, he batted .467 with 11 homers and 54 RBIs in 105 at-bats.

The Orioles see Bundy as the potential top of the rotation starter that they have long been seeking. Known for maintaining a highly-sophisticated training and weightlifting regiment, Bundy’s fastball is in the mid-to-high 90’s, and he reportedly hit 100 miles per hour this spring. He also throws a hard cut fastball, a biting curve and a developing changeup.

Bundy, who could start at short-season Single-A Aberdeen, immediately becomes the Orioles’ top pitching prospect. He’ll also join an organization that includes his older brother, Bobby, who is currently pitching for Double-A Bowie. Bobby Bundy, an eighth-round selection in 2008, is one of the frontrunners this year for the Jim Palmer award, given annually to the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

The Orioles knew that Dylan Bundy, the 2011 Gatorade National Player of the Year, would be a tough sign. Before the draft, he made it known that he was looking for a $30 million signing bonus, which would have doubled the biggest one ever given out, the $15.1 million to phenom Stephen Strasburg by the Washington Nationals in 2009.

Asked if the $30 million figure was accurate on the night of the draft, Bundy said in a conference call with Baltimore reporters, “I guess so, huh?”

Both sides, however, knew that figure wasn’t realistic, and Jordan maintained that he didn’t plan to set any records in signing Bundy, who had committed to pitch for the University of Texas.

Jordan, who is in the final year of his contract, has signed all seven of his first-round picks since becoming the Orioles Director of Amateur Scouting.

Esposito, who agreed to a deal which is $30,000 more than the slot recommendation, batted .341 with nine homers and 59 RBIs in 65 games for a Vanderbilt team that made the College World Series. He’s considered an above-average defender at third base.

Delmonico, who was believed to be a solid commit to the University of Georgia, was considered first or second-round talent by some draft pundits, but he fell all the way to the sixth round and the 185th overall pick.

Delmonico played catcher at Farragut High School. However, the Orioles project him as a third baseman. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Delmonico’s best tool is his bat. He batted .426 with 11 homers, 45 RBIs, 53 walks and 23 steals in leading Farragut to a fourth consecutive Class AAA state championship.

The Orioles completed their draft class by signing 26th-rounder Zach Davies, an Arizona prep pitcher who got a $575,000 deal.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 12:01 AM | | Comments (6)


which top 10 pick did they fail to sign? for some reason I thought they had gotten them all

Jeff Z's reply: Colin, they signed all of their top 10 picks. That was a mistake that I fixed. I kept updated that as they signed and I forgot to in my haste after Bundy deal got done.

As Bill O'Donnell would put it, "It's been a good night, everybody."

Any word if they were ever close on Coats? Not signing him, especially after getting a decent deal on Bundy, seems like a disappointment.

Jeff Z's reply: Never close. I assume Coats made it very clear that he was headed back to TCU because that one was ruled out a couple of weeks ago. As for disappointing, sure you want to sign them all, but O's signed top 11 including Delmonico, who most people expected to go to college.

Jeff -- What a bargain. I I'm really surprised that the Orioles could low ball Bundy like that and still get their man. I figured he'd go to college rather than get dissed like that ("dissed" here is obviously a very, very relative term when the signing bonus is $4M).

When you consider that he's been compared to Ryan and Clemens, and was considered the best player in this years draft by some, such as Buster Olney, I'd never in a thousand years thought he'd sign for less than Wieters.

Anyway, all that matters is that he signed. Congratulations to Dylan and the O's; now he can prove the lofty comparisons are warranted, which would be huge for the club. (Bobby's not to shabby, either.)

Jeff Z's reply: I wish I was low-balled as an 18-year-old to the tune of $6.25 million.

Where is he going to start pitching. If it's Aberdeen, I'd like to see him pitch, if I can get a ticket....

Jeff Z's reply: He signed a 2012 contract, which means that he'll go down to Sarasota and work out with the club and throw bullpens and all. But he won't be activated on an affiliate's roster.

"I wish I was low-balled as an 18-year-old to the tune of $6.25 million."
Right, Jeff, me too! (LOL) Roch qupped that while it's short of the $30M he was looking for, "He can always get a second job or continue to receive his allowance. "

As someone who's outside the process, but who's kept up with recent drafts, I never thought he'd be willing to go for less than $10M, considering the $15.1M Stephen Strasburg received two years ago, because Bundy's the most hyped pitcher since Strasburg.

The difference, obviously, is that Strasburg had already proven himself at the college level and I'm sure suring negotiations Joe Jordan emphasized how Dylan's just coming out of high school.

In any case, I'm here's a case where I'm glad I was wrong. If Bundy turns out to be the stud he's touted as being, and can transition his huge talent to getting out major league hitters for the Orioles, his signing bonus will be the last thing on anyone's mind.

Will he be pitching at all this year in the Orioles' system?

Jeff Z's reply: Because he signed a 2012 contract, I think he'll go down to Sarasota and work out, throw some bullpens, but not be activated on a team's roster.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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