The trade deadline is just three days away, and the Yankees’ rotation could certainly use another talented arm knowing that James Paxton won’t be on the mound anytime soon thanks to a left flexor strain. Truth be told, there aren’t many sure things in the rotation after Gerrit Cole. Jordan Montgomery is a bit inconsistent - which is to be expected from a pitcher without a true putaway pitch - and while Masahiro Tanaka seems to be rounding into form, more depth is needed if the Yankees are going to fight for the right to be called World Champions.
J.A. Happ is just not reliable at this point, and while Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia remain options to contribute down the road and are extremely talented, they are rookies. Expectations need to be held in check.
That’s why the Bombers could use another talented starter. They have been connected with the Indians’ Mike Clevinger, although he should cost a significant haul in prospect resources. Taijuan Walker, another Yankees’ target, was traded to the Blue Jays on Thursday.
what about Dylan Bundy? After several disappointing seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, he is finally delivering on the promise that made him a first-round draft pick back in 2011. On a one-year deal with the Angels, he’s a prime trade target.
A late bloomer
For all the years Bundy was with the O’s, they failed to guide him and help him realize his vast potential. Injuries, of course, also played a part, and he went from averaging 95 mph on his heater in 2016 to 91 mph this season.
Yet he has found a way to be successful with the Angels. By decreasing his four-seam fastball usage from 42.4 percent in 2019 to just 28.7 percent in 2020, and increasing his secondaries, namely his slider, changeup and sinker, he has played to his strengths this season.
Bundy already managed to accumulate 1.1 fWAR in just six starts. With a 2.58 ERA and a 3.08 FIP, his success looks legitimate and not a product of good fortune. In 38.1 innings, he has a 10.33 K/9 mark and has handed out just 1.88 bases on balls per each nine innings. In other words, he has been dominant.
His Statcast profile essentially backs up his success:
Bundy’s slider is a fantastic weapon. It isn’t particularly fast, at 80.2 mph on average. However, he generates excellent spin rates with it, and it has an outstanding 53.7 whiff percentage. Batters have hit .075 with a .125 slugging percentage and a .097 wOBA against the pitch.
The 27-year-old is capable of throwing his slider for called strikes, and also makes hitters miss with it:
Bundy strikes out Moore on three straight sliders pic.twitter.com/qvPdBWYQxd— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) August 6, 2020
The pitch is not only a weapon against righties. He uses it to put away lefties, as well:
Dylan Bundy, Filthy 82mph Slider. pic.twitter.com/oZcH6OSkoU— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 12, 2020
Overall, Bundy seems poised and confident when on the mound, and is just the type of pitcher the Yankees need: one that is capable of going six or seven innings each start and turning over opposing lineups. He would move the needle for the Bombers, at least based on the evidence we have this year, unlike the Johnny Cueto and Mike Minor types.
Naturally, the Angels would be seeking a significant return, especially since he still has one season of team control after 2020. They have reportedly received interest from several teams, and rightfully so. Will the Yankees ultimately pursue a trade for the talented right-hander? We don’t have much more time to find out.