Bundy Feeling Comfortable with Curveball

Orioles pitching prospect Bobby Bundy is getting more comfortable with himself and is having success

Frederick Keys starting pitcher Bobby Bundy continues to pitch well as a pro player. A rising prospect in the organization, Bundy was an eighth round selection in the 2008 MLB Draft. He was the 14th ranked prospect in the Baltimore Orioles organization according to Baseball America going into the 2011 season. Due to the call up of top pitching prospect Zach Britton he has risen slightly.

Bundy started his pro career with the Gulf Coast League Orioles but only pitched two innings that season. The 21-year-old played his first full season in 2009 with Bluefield of the Appalachian League and posted a record of 2-7 with a 5.10 ERA in 12 starts.

The 2010 season brought the success that many knew of Bundy as he posted a record of 4-6 but an ERA of 3.65 in 18 starts. The below .500 record was not an indication on how he pitched and was a lot more successful.

Bundy is building off the success of 2010 with an even better 2011 as he currently has a record of 4-3 with an ERA of 2.42 in eight starts. The right-hander believes in not being too fancy and just going out there to keep his team in the game.

"I am just really trying to make my pitch at the right times," Bundy said. "I just try to pitch to contact, get ground balls and just let my defense do the work. There have been times where I did not really have all my pitches but I just try to battle through it and just let my defense do the work."

The main pitches Bundy throws are a changeup, sinker; cutter which he recently developed and a curve ball that breaks well and can freeze hitters.

The Oklahoma native considers the curveball his out pitch and uses it in situations when he needs to get a big out.

"When I am real comfortable with it I use it a lot," Bundy said. "I feel it's a really good out pitch. I go to it on a 0-2 pitch, 1-2 pitch and I feel like I am getting more comfortable with it as I go on."

Bundy had his ups and downs with his curve ball. He was not getting the feel of it all the time, but with the development of his cutter he said things have changed and has had more success with it. He provides a prospective on why his curveball developed with the cutter.

"I think overall it gives me a better feel for the baseball just get to know with your hands, fingers and the dip of your arm doing. It might give me a little bit more feel."

The curve ball is important to Bundy because he feels he can use it in any pitch. When the feel of the breaking ball isn't there he has to make adjustments to how he pitches so teams don't rock him.

"I just have to bear down and make sure the ball is in the bottom half of the zone. Let the hitters hit ground balls and not try to look too much into it and get them selves out."

Blaine Beatty has been a big influence. The pitching coach has helped develop his game in numerous ways as a pitcher.

"He really just helps me stay within myself keeping everything in line towards the plate," Bundy said. "I have a tendency to pull off on some of my pitches. He is just always on top of me in line to home plate and he is just a good person to have by my side when I am doing the bullpens. He just has a good opinion about things."

Bundy started Saturday night against the Kinston Indians and only gave up one run in eight innings pitched. He was in line for the loss because he did not get any run support but got the no decision as the team came back to win in the ninth.

The curve ball was on point today. The movement from top to bottom froze hitters and impressed Beatty.

"His curveball was there today," Beatty said. "The last time he pitched against these guys his curveball wasn't really that good but he put it all together tonight."

Beatty also added that he does throw his curveball well consistently despite the previous start.

Manager Orlando Gomez was impressed with the quality of his breaking curve especially in Saturday's start against the Indians.

"He pitches it well and has good location," Gomez said. "When I saw him throw it I thought he had a really nice curveball. He really had a nice bite on the curveball and it was a 12-6 like we call it. Some guys chase it because it looks like it is in the strike zone. I thought it was a big pitch for him today."

The relationship of the pitcher and catcher is as important as any in sports. Catcher Brian Ward loves the way Bundy pitches.

"He has a great curve ball which has really worked out," Ward said. "He can throw three pitches for strikes anytime and keeps the ball down in the zone. He has been an ace type pitcher for us and I am excited to see how he moves up in this organization."

Bundy feels that he has a great relationship with Ward and that he works really well with him especially with the breaking balls because the trust factor is there.

"I have thrown to Ward in [seven of the last eight outings] so I don't know if I prefer him it is just kind of how it is fallen into place," Bundy said. "I really like him because he is encouraging, blocks balls in the dirt and has a real good throw out ratio at second base. I feel like he is positive if I am having location problems he always gets me back in line. He knows everybody's strength and knows how to pitchers pitch to hitters."

Bundy suffered an ACL tear the winter before the draft which set him back because he was not able to pitch. The injury dropped him to the eighth round instead of a potential first round pick.

The injury did not impact him mentally according to the rising prospect but he did have some issues with it in his first year of pro ball. Bundy adds that his father has been one of the guiding forces throughout his baseball life.

There was a period of time because of the injury that Bundy was out of shape. The workout programs he did with his father and trainers benefitted him to this day because it helped him gain his velocity, strength and weight control back in order.

"I did some long toss in the offseason. I do a lot of dynamic workouts," Bundy said. "I like boxing workouts, I love doing pull ups which helps my upper body a little bit. I squat a lot. I like to get a full body workout."

Bundy has the intelligence and physical makeup to be a major league pitcher sooner rather than later. Projections could land him in the big leagues in the next year or two.

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