Dylan Bundy? Who in baseball hasn’t heard of Dylan Bundy?
“The legend here is,” Bradley said, smiling, “that he once struck out a batter on only two pitches.”
And the batter was Chuck Norris.
OK, so the hype for Bundy might be a little extreme. But so far, the Orioles’ top prospect has given nobody a reason to rein it in.
On Saturday night, Bradley’s Salem Red Sox will attempt to become the first professional team to score an earned run off Bundy, who will make his Carolina League debut for Frederick at home against Salem at 6 p.m.
The 19-year-old right-hander earned a quick promotion to Frederick after allowing just five hits and two runs (none earned) over 30 innings at Low-A Delmarva.
Bundy has 40 strikeouts vs. only two walks. He held South Atlantic League hitters to an .053 average.
“It’s always a challenge to face a guy who’s considered a top-tier pitcher,” said Bradley, likely to bat in his usual leadoff spot and play center field tonight. “So I’m going to be pretty excited to see what he’s got.”
Salem might be the Carolina League team best equipped to dent him. Despite a rough past week offensively, the Sox still lead the circuit in average (.279), on-base percentage (.354) and steals (71).
And if somebody scores that elusive earned run, there’s a good chance it’ll be Bradley. He topped the circuit in average (.366), OBP (.495) and runs (37) by wide margins heading into Friday’s series opener.
Plus, he’s experienced something similar before.
In the 2010 College World Series best-of-three finals, Bradley’s South Carolina team matched up with UCLA phenom Gerrit Cole, who would be drafted No. 1 overall a year later.
Bradley remembers massive hype preceding the event. He remembers the Gamecocks thrashing Cole for a career-worst 11 hits in a 7-1 win.
And perhaps most importantly? He remembers no players walking back to the dugout after only two strikes. –Aaron McFarling