When making a case for which starting pitcher has enjoyed the best start to 2018, it’s hard to argue against Baltimore Orioles hurler Dylan Bundy. You’d just never be able to tell how good he’s been by looking at his win-loss record.
Despite having no wins and two losses through his first 25.1 innings of work, the young right-hander’s 1.2 fWAR is the highest among qualified starters entering action on Monday. Furthermore, his 1.40 ERA is a top-10 mark, while his 29.8% strikeout rate and 2.93 SIERA are both among the top 20.
Even before his start on Sunday against the Boston Red Sox, he had already found his way into an interesting club.
It’s usually a good thing to be mentioned in the same breath as Pedro Martinez. That applies here despite not having any victories.
Bundy didn’t complete at least six innings for the first time this year on Sunday, but it was the fourth straight time he allowed two or fewer earned runs. He’s also whiffed at least six hitters in each appearance.
What makes this early-season performance even better is looking at who Bundy has done this against. Prior to the Red Sox, the 25-year-old also faced the Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, and Toronto Blue Jays. That’s not an easy draw for a hurler’s first four starts, and he’s passed it with flying colors.
The biggest problem here — and it’s been a consistent problem since Opening Day — is the Orioles’ offense (or lack thereof). They’ve scored an average of just 3.19 runs per night through their first 16 games, and it’s been even worse with their young ace on the hill.
Baltimore has averaged a whole 1.75 runs of support for Bundy. They’ve managed to score more than two runs just once during this time.
The Orioles’ team wRC+ of 74 is currently among the worst in baseball. If we specifically look at hitters with at least 60 plate appearances, only Manny Machado (154) and Trey Mancini (110), have a wRC+ above 68.
Manager Buck Showalter is bound to see his offense come to life at some point. Sure, the veterans (like Chris Davis and Adam Jones) are another year older, but this is mostly the same group that posted a team wRC+ of 96 in 2017. While they’re going to eventually score some runs for Bundy, let’s hope they bail him out a couple times on those days when he doesn’t have his best stuff to make up for what’s happened this month.
About Matt Musico
Matt Musico currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book about how to become a sports blogger. You can sign up for his email newsletter here.