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  1. Is Dylan Bundy ‘country strong’ because he’s white?

    Comment by Guest — June 8, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  2. the tea party protested taxes (led by billionaires) 2 months after the president LOWERED their taxes.

    they aren’t a bright bunch.

    Comment by bSpittle — June 8, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

  3. No, he’s country strong because he has an extremely strong core and is from Oklahoma. I hope this wasn’t a serious question.

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 8, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

  4. Did I need to include something about my political beliefs not matching my scouting beliefs?

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 8, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

  5. When do you think their ETA is? Mid 2013?

    Comment by Justin — June 8, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  6. Fantastic article. I would also take Bundy over Walker, gun to my head, but I do want to add something else.

    If I’m not mistaken, Bundy has gotten to where he is by pitching his whole life, whereas Walker only pitched in his senior year in high school. This suggests (inconclusively however) that Walker might be less of an arm injury risk going forward.

    Comment by Double06 — June 8, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

  7. Awesome post, thanks. As a Mariners fan, I share your hope that BOTH end up being really really really good pitchers for a long time.

    Comment by Kyle — June 8, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

  8. No, that is obvious from the tone of the political comments in the article.

    Comment by Anon — June 8, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

  9. Honestly, I’m shocked that the two would even be compared, and after reading the piece I still don’t understand why they were. Walker is a very impressive pitching prospect, yet Bundy not only has the higher floor but a significantly higher ceiling as well. Is this just because Dylan isn’t 6’4″?

    Comment by jdbolick — June 8, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  10. Quantified by whatever metric you want, what exactly are the differences in ceiling? Bundy is already throwing harder than Walker and can maintain the velocity longer. I can see how Walker’s height gives him a better downward plane. Does Bundy have a straight fastball?

    Comment by viconquest — June 8, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  11. The correct answers is Deck McGuire

    Comment by everdiso — June 8, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

  12. O’s fan here – that sounds a bit fast for Bundy. The team is trying to both limit his innings and progress Bundy methodically through the levels (much like the Rays have done with their top pitching prospects, with the exception of David Price). At best, he’ll reach AA in July or August of this year, and he’ll almost certainly start at that level next year. He could follow a similar schedule next year – 5-10 starts at AA, and if he’s dominating, promotion to AAA, and then optimistically, I could see him getting an August or September (2013) callup, depending on the major league team’s record and situation.

    We have a number of free agent pitchers after next year (Hammel, Wada, Johnson) so there’ll be space opening up for him to join the rotation full-time in 2014, if he’s ready.

    Comment by David — June 8, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

  13. They protested the tax hike our kids will be paying for because of the “Health Care” passed…you know the one where we are forced to purchase insurance from “evil” health care companies? Yay, Obama!
    But you wouldn’t get that. Liberals aren’t the brightest bunch.

    Comment by MoJo — June 8, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

  14. That’s not what the article says. The article says Walker likely has the highest ceiling in Minor League baseball.

    Comment by Joof — June 8, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

  15. You actually did a fantastic job of using a political analogy without giving away your own beliefs.

    Comment by byron — June 8, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

  16. Have you seen Bundy’s shoulder workout? Looks to me like the family has been taking preventive measures all along. He also makes it a rule to never throw 100% in game situations.

    Comment by Jeff V. — June 8, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  17. And here we go.

    Comment by CR — June 8, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  18. yay politics

    Comment by James — June 8, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  19. Have YOU seen Bundy’s shoulder workout? Of course we haven’t .

    Comment by Okra — June 8, 2012 @ 6:46 pm

  20. Bundy maintains his velocity? Through the 3 inning caps they place on him. Get real dude.

    Comment by Chris — June 8, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

  21. Is he from a rural area? Did he grow up on a farm? Being from Oklahoma isn’t specific enough to classify someone as ‘country strong’. That would be like saying someone from San Francisco is ‘homosexually fashionable’.

    Comment by Anon — June 8, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

  22. Peolle who will hijack the comments section of a scouting column as a platform for their own political agenda – not th brightest bunch.

    Comment by Dave — June 8, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

  23. @ Anon – Dylan went to High school in Owasso, a “city” of about 28,000.

    Comment by WarehouseWorthy — June 8, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

  24. @ Okra – rather than being negative you could have spent the time you were typing searching for info rather than mocking Jeff. Here’s a video of Dylan working out:

    Comment by WarehouseWorthy — June 8, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

  25. Question for you Mike:
    Back in March Marc Hulet ranked Walker behind Miller, Teheran, Cole, Bauer, Taillon, Skaggs, Bradley, Wheeler, Turner, and Hultzen. When you call him possibly the best pitching prospect in the game, is that because you would have ranked him much higher before the season, because you think he’s leapfrogged these guys, or some of both?

    Comment by leapfrog — June 8, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

  26. @Warehouse: Owasso is a suburb of Oklahome, 15 miles from the city.

    Comment by Grendell — June 8, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

  27. Sorry, I meant to say that it’s a suburb of Tulsa.

    Comment by Grendell — June 8, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

  28. I have, that’s why I put in the qualifier *inconclusively*. In the end we’re basically splitting hairs.

    Comment by Double06 — June 8, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

  29. @Anon: you’re either being sarcastic or you’re oblivious.

    Comment by GUY — June 8, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

  30. Why are you here? There are about 100 other sites you should be wasting your time on spitting out your political beliefs anonymously.
    They don’t belong here so please stop. Let’s talk baseball.

    Comment by Bradlee — June 8, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

  31. If he isn’t at his innings limit come late summer 2013, I don’t know how the Orioles could explain not calling him up by September.

    Comment by GUY — June 8, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

  32. “Nearly the same age, Bundy checks in as 3-months Walker’s junior. In baseball years, each is playing his age-19 season which will inevitably link them forever more.”

    I’d say that’s your answer right there. Long as these 2 continue to have success as “uber prospects” they’ll be linked due to age and similar development.

    Comment by GUY — June 8, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

  33. Back to ESPN MoJo.

    Comment by Colin — June 8, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

  34. Look it up dude! He pitched 5 innings in both his last 2 starts and he’s through 4 thus far today.

    Comment by GUY — June 8, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

  35. Bundy is just disgusting. Although Walker is a superb prospect, I don’t see how anyone can really compare to Bundy right now. I really have a tough time buying into the idea that Walker even has a higher ceiling let alone one big enough to make him the better prospect.

    Comment by Colin — June 8, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  36. One aspect not discussed: I’d rather have a guy who pitches half his games at Safeco rather than someone who has to pitch at Camden Yards.

    Comment by Gerrythek — June 8, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  37. Do you think organizations with thin (depthwise) farm systems will ever muster the courage to try to turn that one “most volatile of baseball commodities”, specifically the recent high-school-draftee uberprospect starting pitcher who is having success at A ball (now AA for Walker), into 2 or 3 less volatile sub-uberprospects via a trade? We haven’t seen this type of move yet, but given how coveted that sort of prospect is today I am wondering if that might actually be a very smart course for some of those organizations to pursue. If so many people think that that Bundy is the best they ever saw, wouldn’t that tend to incredibly overinflate his trade value? Could he or Walker ever meet the expectations heaped upon them now as guys who will pitch just every 6 days with a ton of restrictions on their pitch and inning counts for the short term?

    Comment by reillocity — June 8, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

  38. well, obviously…but that has nothing to do with their relative merits as prospects.

    Comment by ccoop — June 8, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

  39. That’s a really tough question. If you could turn 1 potential HoF player into two potential all-stars, or three solid starters, would you do it? I probably would for the former, but not the latter.

    In either case, you better be certain about all your evaluations. That is the type of trade that could come back to haunt you. And be ready for the media/fan backlash regardless.

    Comment by Bob — June 8, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

  40. Whoa!!!! 3 straight games with 5 IP???? And now he’s getting roughed up. Shocking.

    Comment by Chris — June 8, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

  41. I have to admit… this is beyond silly. Let me contact Dylan’s father and see if he has a problem with his son being country strong considering it’s a complement. If it doesn’t offend him, it really should offend you either should it?

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 8, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

  42. More silly stuff as I was just writing an analogy to express just how much my scouting beliefs have changed. Anon, why bother reading my work if you are so hell bent on trying to make me into some monster anyway?

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 8, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

  43. That’s why I raised the question, because Mike is the first I’ve seen even suggest that they’re in the same tier. Taijan Walker is a very good pitching prospect, but Dylan Bundy is in another league altogether. The comparison itself is bizarre, regardless of their similar age, and I’ve seen nothing whatsoever to support the notion that Walker has a higher ceiling.

    Comment by jdbolick — June 8, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

  44. I’m usually pretty conservative when it comes to ETA’s, but I’m thinking both Walker and Bundy could surface at the end of 2013. People will say Walker will be up sooner than that, but I’m just not sure. If he’s pushed, Walker could be exposed a bit and there’s really no reason to take the risk.

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 8, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  45. You may be right, but Walker’s mechanics are not nearly as clean as Bundy and his strength allows him to take pressure off his arm where Walker has some effort. It goes both ways.

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 8, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

  46. I’ve been told second hand by friends in the industry that they have been told Walker is the best prospect in the game. I’ve been told by other contacts Bundy is the best prospect in the game. Additionally, I’ve been asked the question quite a bit on Twitter so I decided to answer. I’ve always listened to my audience and will sometimes write posts about questions and comments if they get the writing juices flowing.

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 8, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

  47. Interesting BSpittle is the one who hijacked the thread with a political comment. I only responded to his, yet get the “blame.”. Funny how that works.
    I actually thought the analogy in the article was a good one.

    Comment by MoJo — June 8, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

  48. When you take a guy like Bundy who is supremely talented, but may be near maxed out physically, one is forced to wonder just how much Bundy can improve at his peak. Think of a diamond which is already neatly cut.

    Walker is much more rough around the edges, but is having remarkable success as a pitcher who still appears to be figuring it out. My perception is that he’s just scratching the surface of his ability and may take a huge step forward adding size, velocity and polish.

    Say what you will about height, but there’s always somewhat of a concern about shorter pitchers not creating downward plane which is extremely important for projecting big league success. Walker’s fastball movement and downward plane are magnificent. Add in his feel for offspeed pitches for a guy who is essentially new to pitching and it’s a recipe for dominance.

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 8, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

  49. How many times have you seen Bundy exactly Chris?

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 8, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

  50. 2 ER in 5 IP is “roughed up”? At 19? Maybe it’s you who needs to get real.

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 8, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

  51. I don’t think it happens. One aspect of prospecting which is greatly misunderstood is just how much better a top-5 prospect or draft pick is than even a top-20 player. A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece comparing Jesus Montero and Wilmer Flores at the time Montero was a top-10 overall prospect and Flores was a top-50 guy. In that piece, I said it would take me 3-4 Flores quality players for me to even tempt me because a truly elite prospect has what may be an infinitely better chance of becoming a contributing big leaguer.

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 8, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

  52. I agree that this is very unlikely based on conventional thinking in scouting circles. In this hypothetical case it might make a bit more sense for the Mariners to kick the tires on the idea, seeing that they have a bit of an in-house insurance policy on hand in the arms of Hultzen and Paxton. The just-out-of-high-school starting pitcher seems to be the perfect guy for it, given how volatile their maturation can be. I’m not sure I’d do it anywhere else unless I had a surplus of riches at a spot that others were short on. The Mariners could gain a bit more certainty and add needed depth by turning him into a college starting pitcher who is closer to major league ready from a repertoire standpoint and one or two other prospects of value. Philosophically speaking, there are probably some organizations that need to try such radical departures from conventional wisdom – I mean the Mariners have been around for 36 years now and have been to how many World Series?

    The whole deal of this kind of thing fascinates me. I wonder if one went through all of the historical Baseball America Top 100 lists if any example of a team dealing a Top 20 prospect for more than one non-Top-20 prospect has ever been attempted?

    Comment by reillocity — June 8, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

  53. Yeah, it would be a bit like trading down and out of the one of the top 2 or 3 spots in an NFL draft. MLB GMs aren’t conditioned to think that way since they don’t have that luxury of swapping draft picks. When they think about turning one player into multiple players as the GM of a rebuilding team, they see that one player as a veteran major leaguer and probably never even consider trying to turn their best prospect into more prospects.

    Comment by reillocity — June 8, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

  54. What is it with snarky people today? It was a good article – interesting and enlightening for me since I had never seen either of them pitch. Thanks Mike!

    Political, social and religious views are important. But more important is respecting the OP’s intent which certainly was not to venture into those realms. *sighs

    Comment by Brad — June 8, 2012 @ 11:20 pm

  55. Anon, why bother reading my work if you are so hell bent on trying to make me into some monster anyway?

    The article wasn’t bad. You used a stereotype (strong + Oklahoma = country strong), and I perceived some bias in your political analogy. I’m curious as to how two (now three) responses to other comments becomes me being ‘hell bent’ to make you a ‘monster’.

    Really, I would like an explanation.

    Comment by Anon — June 8, 2012 @ 11:40 pm

  56. So Mike, you’re comparative analysis is very interesting, particularly your considerations of celing vs. floor. I’m in agreement with your assignments of those capacities to Walker and Bundy respectively. Furthering that, one could consider Walker’s picking up a curvevall over a few games last season that has excellent break and plus-plus potential; that speaks to ceiling, and likely grades above Bundy’s (themselves excellent) secondary pitches. OTOH Bundy’s control has been _phenomenal_; that speaks to a high floor, and is far in advance of Walker’s control which for him speaks to a potentially lower floor.

    It’s interesting to think that Bundy could easily have been drafted by the Mariners if Dylan hadn’t had a teen’s fixation on pitching for his brother’s Os, though Hultzen is making his pick look diamond-bright too.

    Comment by Balthazar — June 8, 2012 @ 11:52 pm

  57. In case it gets lost in all of the negativity, I think this piece is awesome. Great to see high level scouting input alongside the high level statistical analysis here on FG. Some people in the comments today need a hobby.

    Comment by 300ZXNA — June 9, 2012 @ 1:22 am

  58. zook

    Comment by David G — June 9, 2012 @ 2:34 am

  59. 2 ER in 5IP isn’t roughed up at any age…Just saying.

    Comment by Chris — June 9, 2012 @ 2:37 am

  60. Each would enjoy the benefit Safeco gives pitchers. So you can’t really compare them based on what ball park they will be playing in, unless you know a lot about their groundball rates and such.

    Comment by Matthias — June 9, 2012 @ 4:20 am

  61. Reillocity, I like the thinking.

    I know there must be pth percentile projections for these guys as 0, 1, 2, 3 WAR players. Not that those are the most accurate of things, but using expected values it feels like we could compare the expected values of three lesser guys for one top prospect.

    I just wouldn’t know where to begin putting probabilistic outcomes on players in the minors…

    Comment by Matthias — June 9, 2012 @ 4:29 am

  62. You’re right. Looks a lot more human is more accurate. I don’t think 3 straight 5 IP outings after a string or 2, 3 IP outings are an indicator of his ability to maintain velocity.

    Comment by Chris — June 9, 2012 @ 7:27 am

  63. The old get a hobby line, classic. I would get one, but I have a hard time leaving my parents’ basement.

    Comment by Chris — June 9, 2012 @ 7:32 am

  64. Yes, the idea the Mariners could have had both Bundy and Walker is remarkable. I know there have been fantastic prospect 1-2 punches in recent history, but it would be hard for me to think of a better duo. I’m a big Hultzen fan, but it’s difficult for me to see ANY team not taking Bundy #1 if the 2011 draft were held again today. Apparently, a few teams were concerned by Bundy’s stature and preferred taller pitchers. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I’ve had scouts tell me they love “shorties” because there’s hidden value there as short pitchers have more concerns surrounding them.

    I honestly haven’t heard anything about Bundy picking the O’s to play with his brother. The only information regarding Bundy around draft time was that he wanted to be allowed to maintain much of his own throwing program as a number of organizations don’t approve of long toss.

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 9, 2012 @ 8:33 am

  65. Reillocity,

    There’s definitely value in minimum salaried big leaguers of any shape or form. Look at the Mets revival. Whether you believe they are real or not, they are a fantastic example. Minimum salaried big leaguers have allowed them to bring their team salary down by about 50 million. At the same time, the 10 or so homegrown players on their roster make up a decent young core of talent. Nothing restores organizational health faster than minimum salaried big leaguers who contribute.

    If anything, it’s probably time for the Mariners to shop King Felix with the glut of young arms coming up through the system. A scout and I were talking at a game about possible suitors and thought the Blue Jays would be the perfect fit. The names we came up with were Arencibia, Alvarez, Gose and Syndergaard for Felix.

    I think the flaw in the 1 great prospect for 3-4 very good ones is this. Say Walker projects to be a 5 WAR pitcher at a minimum salary and he’s dealt for 3 lesser players who project for 3 WAR.

    1 roster spot = 5 WAR @ approx. 500 K
    3 roster spots = 9 WAR @ approx. 1.5 Mil

    The question becomes what can a team do with those extra roster spots? If an organization believes it can acquire two, 2 WAR players off the scrap heap or by promoting from within, then the trade makes no sense because you are then trading the single most valuable piece and stars win World Series. Scouting departments are paid to find hidden value.

    The only way I see something like this working is if it’s a team like the White Sox were last year where they had a number of older high salaried players and no impact prospect to speak of in the system.

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 9, 2012 @ 9:03 am

  66. Thank you kindly 300.

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 9, 2012 @ 9:04 am

  67. Me too. MLB doesn’t have enough good pitching right now. The hitters are just dominating! LOL

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 9, 2012 @ 9:05 am

  68. I really enjoyed the article, so thanks a lot, Mike, for sharing your ideas. I was wondering if you could provide more past examples of people who fit in either the high floor or high ceiling category. For example, as a Yanks fan, would it be correct to say that Ian kennedy was a high floor prospect while both Joba and Hughes were more high ceiling?

    And is there a correlation between polish and high floor?

    Comment by Nick — June 9, 2012 @ 9:44 am

  69. Not trying to bust your balls, but hearing from a friend of a friend that Walker might be the best prospect in the game doesn’t seem like a compelling enough case to state that he has a higher ceiling than Dylan Bundy, especially when the majority of comments from those in the game don’t square with that view. I guess I would have found it more compelling if you had wanted to make that case as an article instead of operating from the premise that they’re comparable when the conventional wisdom is currently that Bundy is a far superior prospect. It seemed like the only thing you gave along those lines was your opinion of Walker’s physical projection, which could have led somewhere if you had some data on past prospects with Walker’s build type versus those with Bundy’s. If based on “stuff” and “performance to date,” I don’t think it’s possible to make the case that Walker can even equal Bundy’s ceiling, much less surpass it. For him to do so, those physical differences would have to be truly significant.

    Comment by jdbolick — June 9, 2012 @ 10:31 am

  70. Do you have any data backing up your assertion that creating downward plane “is extremely important for projecting big league success”? A difference of three inches in height from 60’6″ away produces an angle difference of only 0.24 degrees. A quarter of one degree hardly seems meaningful. Watching the videos you posted (thanks for that) indicates that Bundy has a higher arm slot as well, which means he might actually be generating more downward plane on his pitches than Walker. It really seems like you’re putting far too much emphasis on TW’s larger build and using that as a reason to see projection that probably isn’t there.

    Comment by jdbolick — June 9, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  71. Why do I need to provide examples when you example is spot on? Kennedy was a high floor guy with limited ceiling while both Hughes/Joba were big ceiling guys with much lower floors if things went south.

    Right now, I consider Danny Hultzen to have an extremely high floor. Promote him tomorrow and he’s a legit big leaguer. However, his stuff was down last weekend from when I saw him with Virginia, so his ceiling would be impacted by that.

    Jurickson Profar has a high ceiling, much like Bundy, but his extremely high floor makes him a much safer prospect play which enhances his overall value because there’s less risk there.

    Anthony Gose is a high ceiling prospect with a moderate floor because of strong defense/speed offset a bit by strikeout issues and a lack of polish.

    Another Yankee, Angelo Gumbs is an example of a high ceiling guy with a very low floor. His bat speed and athleticism is elite, but he’s a poor defender, unbridled at the plate and nearly all of his success is closely linked to tools, not baseball skills. If things click, the potential is there for him to be a star level player. If his baseball skills don’t improve, he may never make it out of Double-A.

    Comment by Mike Newman — June 9, 2012 @ 11:38 am

  72. The reason he says this is because bundy is literally maxed out physically, he will never throw any harder unless he changes his delivery, which would obviously be ill advised. Taijuan could still gain some weight, and so could gain more velocity. However, bundy has the possibility of 4 plus pitches, which in my mind gives him the advantage. Sooooo, i just contradicted myself, but i was just explaining mike’s thinking.

    Comment by radicalhenri — June 9, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  73. Nice work Mike. I am surprised to learn that there are pitching prospects in the minors other than Bundy, given how much coverage he has gotten here (not hating, just observing).

    I would dispute the notion that Phil Hughes was considered a “high-ceiling, low-floor” prospect when he was going through the minors. From my recollection, he was considered fairly polished with good command, which along with his very good but not dynamite stuff made him a top prospect. Obviously in retrospect he looks like a lower floor guy because he has been fairly disappointing in the majors, but at the time Hughes was considered a pretty safe bet.

    Comment by Eric — June 9, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

  74. I like your last point, Mike, about the team thinking they can fill those two free spots via other routes. Some other wild cards that might creep into the equation – if your team reached the postseason, you’d probably want the Walker-like would-be-ace in your rotation. To get to the postseason though, the players you received for him might be the better route. I also wonder about the extent to which the GMs, baseball ops, and scouting types pin their resumes on drafting and developing guys like Walker, Bundy, etc. If they draft these guys and trade them, in hindsight, it almost looks like they gave up on the players and the other organization developed them into big leaguers even though the trade they made may well have turned out better for their organization.

    Comment by reillocity — June 9, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

  75. @jdbolick

    I don’t think that’s necessarily true. My question then would be, what have you seen that supports the notion of Bundy having the higher ceiling?

    We’ve been told by many that Dylan is the better/best prospect, and what he did in A ball, certainly makes that assessment pretty easy to latch onto. All we know for sure right now, is that both are really really good prospects for the time being.

    I think we have to remember that most of our prospect opinions are based on information we RECEIVE from what we consider “reliable” and “unreliable” sources. As Bundy is promoted, and starting to actually let up runs, it’s funny that the decision becomes not so clear, all of the sudden.

    The “physical max-out argument” is interesting because that is the substantial “flaw” constantly following around Tim Lincecum (not comparing him to Bundy). While Matt Cain has never been on par to Lincecum’s best, you might be able to argue between career productivity right now. And, you never heard a “prospect comparison” between those two same-aged MLBers, simply because the timing, placement, and direction of their developmental bubbles have been so different.

    I think this article is a responsible reminder that a prospect(s) study is something that constantly evolves, and comparisons are only real at the moment. Why not make the comparison that doesn’t seem to fit well at first, if only for the sake of comparison?

    To me, the not-so-obvious comparable forms are the most interesting ones.

    Comment by baty — June 9, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

  76. I was intentionally trying to keep my post more benign/positive than some of the bitching and moaning going on. I chose the hobby line because it just seemed a little less inflammatory than telling people to fornicate their anus with a chain saw . . .

    Comment by 300ZXNA — June 9, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

  77. Reading media coverage of Bundy as his buzz is building this year, I’ve ‘heard it said’ in print he was pretty insistent on going to the Orioles. I don’t know if that was a firm demand that put any higher teams off him or what, just that chatter is going round on that. If the Ms (or Pittsburgh) passed on him for that reason, then there it is. If those who let him slide weren’t poled off, so to speak, then that’s an eggy mulligan on them. It _was_ a deep draft with lots of shiny tools on the board to be sure, but a November power pitcher isn’t something to pass on. Looking at Bundy coiled at the top of his leg kick one has the perfect image of a hardball pitcher.

    Here’s an interesting tip-topper comp that might warrant some later discussion. Walker, Vida Blue. Bundy, Walter the Johnson. That isn’t the destination, exactly, but the ‘type’ comparison. And no, the color under the cap isn’t the issue. One could use Don Drysdale as a Walker comp if preferred, but Blue’s repertoire looks closer.

    It must be kept in mind that Bundy is putting up golly-gosh numbers pitching _well_ below his competition level. We’ll get a better idea once he faces, y’know, HITTERS, who can work for a 95er over the plate and drive it. Every talented pitcher looks like a king battling low A boys. But Bundy’s mechanics, stuff, and intensity are top grade, he’s the real thing. That said tho’, there _isn’t_ a consensus that he’s better than Walker, informed opinion is genuinely divided, notwithstanding all the fandom ecstasy. I’d take either in a heartbeat if I could get them, sure.

    Comment by Balthazar — June 9, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

  78. The problem is that it’s lazy. He’s not a farmer’s son, he doesn’t cover from a physical labor background…he’s not “country strong” just because he’s a white kid from OK. It’s lazy writing.

    Comment by The Truth — June 9, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

  79. Actually, he did grow up on a farm and he does come from a physical labor background. Any other questions?

    Comment by Matt P — June 9, 2012 @ 11:27 pm

  80. @baty

    Well, everything except this piece from Mike supports the notion that Bundy has not only a higher floor but also a higher ceiling than Taijan Walker. His entire argument seems to be based on nothing more than Walker being taller. Even on that he made the claim that TW has more downward plane on his pitches and that downward plane is “extremely important for projecting big league success,” but I’ve seen no evidence that downward plane is so critical. I also showed that a three inch difference from 60’6″ away creates an angle difference of just a quarter of one degree, and that Bundy actually has a higher arm slot than Walker, so it’s possible that Dylan is the one with greater downward plane.

    You say that the decision has become “less clear” as Bundy has started to give up a few more runs, but that’s not really true. This isn’t an industry-wide phenomenon where people are now questioning Bundy or promoting Walker above him as a prospect. As far as I know, no one else besides Mike is doing that. If anything, those within baseball seem to think even better of Dylan now than they did prior to the start of this season.

    Honestly, I think this is all just about Mike having a particular affinity for Taijuan Walker, and I can relate to that. I’ve been guilty of over-hyping a prospect that I liked more than most, and it’s certainly possible that Walker will go on to have a superior major league career to Bundy. My problem with the piece is that it seems based entirely on nothing more than three inches of height and the notion of plane when, as noted, there’s very little if any difference in angle between the two. I enjoy columns that go out on a limb and make me consider something I hadn’t thought of before, but I want that to be based on something real and to be informative.

    Comment by jdbolick — June 10, 2012 @ 9:10 am

  81. I was at that game where he was “roughed” up..he did give up a HR but none of the other hits left the infield. They did not get rough him up.

    Comment by Br10n — June 10, 2012 @ 9:20 am

  82. How about Bundy or Jose Fernandez?

    Comment by themiddle54 — June 10, 2012 @ 11:03 am

  83. Jd, think about the difference in vertical drop, and not the difference in angle. For a pitcher throwing up in the zone, those 3″ will mean about 12% more vertical drop to hit the same point. Down in the zone is still something like 8% more vertical drop for the taller pitcher. All else being equal, the greater change in elevation is an advantage to the taller pitcher.

    Comment by Bob — June 10, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  84. I find this offensive

    Comment by Marcus Thames — June 10, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

  85. Just saying that he’s 3″ taller and so his release point is 3″ higher doesn’t quite stick to me. Your wingspan is generally equal to your height, so Walker’s arm is longer than Bundy’s and his shoulder would (should) be 3″ higher if they have the same proportions. If Bundy has shorter arms, and his shoulders are proportionally lower to the ground than Walkers, and Walker’s shoulders are proportionally higher and he has abnormally long arms, the difference may be more than 3 inches.

    Plus stride length, how they hide the ball, etc can change a lot too. Reaction time of a guy throwing 90MPH can be like that of a guy throwing 95MPH if he hides the ball well and releases the ball closer to the plate.

    That said, Bundy is insanely good. Walker has the prototypical “pitcher” look everyone looks for. Bundy seems to be a lot better with an unconventional look.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — June 10, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

  86. I don’t understand why you would dock Bundy for being “maxed out”. I mean, I DO understand, but I sort of want to challenge that thinking. Maybe Walker gets better, maybe he doesn’t, we don’t know. However (and yea this is fangraphs and lol @ players getting better by thinking better and not something quantifiable like velocity or movement), Bundy can conceivably learn more. He has 4 pretty good pitches. He’s going to get smarter. He has pretty good stuff and some of his stuff may get better. He’ll definately get smarter.

    Walker MIGHT get better stuff. He might not. Both will learn how to pitch better though. Right now, who has better stuff? Bundy does probably. He has a thick trick and thick legs, which seems to suggest he can go. Other than mechanics, a lot of people including Ryan, will say that keeping his legs in great shape is what kept Nolan Ryan in the game so long.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — June 10, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

  87. Also, where would you put Teheran? His age 19 season was about as good as Bundy’s so far and he ascended 3 levels. Teheran’s DIPS stats aren’t as good as Bundy’s, but I don’t think that paints a very complete picture.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — June 10, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

  88. @jdbolick – You are so ridiculous! YOUR friends opinions on prospects don’t mean a damn thing. Mike’s ‘contacts’ are scouts and analysts. I really hope your not serious because you just sound so stupid!

    Comment by Skob — June 11, 2012 @ 11:04 am

  89. Plus, there’s the fact that 3″ of height may equal 4″ at full arm extension.

    Comment by Nivra — June 12, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  90. Mike,

    Awesome article about ceiling vs. floor. I’d love to hear more about how you decide what a prospect’s ceiling or floor actually is. For instance, what physical tools do you look for in projecting ceiling vs. floor, and how the traditional scouting tools help projecting and how advanced statistics helps in that projecting.


    Also> Speaking of 19-y.o. pitchers, when are you going out to Augusta to see the duo of Crick and Blackburn? Mejia, is also 19 there, and may be back in the rotation, soon. I’d love to hear your in-person thoughts about that trio.

    Comment by Nivra — June 12, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

  91. What’s with all this “consensus is Bundy is better than Walker” talk? What consensus? Kevin Goldstein is at least one other prominent prospect writer who has said many times he’s more impressed with Walker’s work at AA than Bundy’s work at Low-A (not sure if he’s said this again since the promotion or not, but still). And if you think it’s ridiculous to compare these guys? Guess what, don’t click the link. It’s really, really that easy. This is a good piece that I enjoyed.

    One question for Mike: who were the high ceiling guys you alluded to missing on? And on the flip side, who were the guys you shrugged off that went on to have solid big league careers? Just curious. Not an indictment in any way, as prospecting clearly involves a LOT of swing and miss.

    Comment by Jack Weiland — June 13, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  92. I always thought the phrase “country strong” referred to someone who was just naturally powerful, with the additional connotation that the strength did not come from a more traditional workout regimen, but rather from daily physical labor. Bundy is a workout warrior, so perhaps that is not an apt description here, but attaching a racial overtone to it is quite a stretch.

    Good article with, in my opinion, a well-reasoned and accurate conclusion.

    Comment by SF — June 13, 2012 @ 11:47 am

  93. I’d disagree with the reasoning of that assertion. Mechanics are a MUCH bigger factor to potential arm injury down the line than the amount of pitching. Bundy’s workout regimen, clean mechanics, and years of repetition would, in my estimation, make him relatively less susceptible than the average pitcher. I haven’t seen Walker, so I can’t compare the two, but just because Bundy has thrown more pitches in his life doesn’t necessarily make him more of an injury risk.

    Comment by SF — June 13, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  94. I find the fact you’re overly sensitive offensive and silly considering the context of the article….

    Comment by ago13 — July 25, 2012 @ 2:27 am

  95. I find Marcus Thames and everyone else who makes this an issue offensive. Plus, your name is gay. What kind of family is named after a British river? LAME-O!!!

    Comment by super-ice — August 17, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  96. When I think country strong Adam Dunn and Travis Hafner come to mind (but admittedly Hafner might just be because of his nickname). Just guys who don’t strike me as gym rats but have legit strength.

    Comment by Scott — November 1, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

  97. Anon – you may have had legitimate concerns but you brought them up with all the grace and tact of bullhorn.

    Comment by Scott — November 1, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

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