Before we get to the game, the first round of the MLB Draft was held tonight, with the Orioles selecting high school right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy with the fourth overall pick. With third-baseman Anthony Rendon getting passed over at 2 and 3 (both surprising, especially the former), I thought that was the way to go. I'm always partial to position players over pitcher and, if healthy, Rendon could fairly be considered the top player in the draft. It's possible his shoulder is in worse shape than I thought though, and so that would partially explain his drop to the Nationals at #6 (who may have selected the #1 player for the third straight season, after picking Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper). Bundy is a fine pick though, and much better than some of the rumored alternatives. He's not going to be cheap to sign (thankfully the team didn't guy the "signability" route), but maybe his brother Bobby Bundy being in the O's system will entice him just a tad.
Bundy* is a hard thrower (mid-90s) who seems to have pretty good control and relatively advanced off-speed stuff for someone his age. Looking at some video of him, I'm not sure if there's a ton of projection left physically, which is mildly concerning (hope he maintains that velocity) but not a big deal - and could mean he moves through the system relatively quickly. Not a huge draft guy, but taking a look at the alternatives, if I had to pick a pitcher it would have been Bundy. If Rendon ends up being healthy though, this could have been a missed opportunity to set up the left side of the infield for quite a while with Manny Machado.
* For the opinions of someone who knows what he's talking about, check out Nick from Camden Depot on Bundy.
I will add that only having one of the first 60+ picks is not too helpful for a bad team trying to build through the system. The Rays, by comparison will pick 10 times between the O's first and second selections. Anyway, on to the big club:
- Three and two-thirds scoreless innings from the bullpen, which has a 3.82 ERA (now lower) in the last month after a 5.20 in April. JJ to Koji to Gregg feels OK with more than a one run lead, though the closer is the weakest link there I think.
- Brian Matusz ended up pitching pretty well, but that might have more to do with the A's line-up as opposed to his own performance. His velocity was down (even more than his last start) - averaging only 85-87 mph with the fastball, and never cracking even 89 - and that's with the PitchFX algorithm, which had him throwing more change-ups than fastballs (doubtful - implying that some of those were actually slow fastballs as well). It's a little concerning, and I wonder how effective he'd be versus a more potent offense. And beyond the velocity, he didn't get a single swing and miss with the fastball and it looks like he missed the zone with it more often than usual. But hey, at least he's a good enough pitcher to get by. Final line; 5.1 P, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR.
- The offense was pretty lackluster again, with just one walk (Mark Reynolds, who easily leads the team in that category - he now has as many free passes as the team's #2 and #3 hitter (Markakis and Jones) combined) and 9 singles (luckily they were able to string some of them together). Need more power and patience to score enough runs to win more than half the time with this pitchign staff.
The O's take game one of the series to move back within 4 games of .500. I sure hope Matusz is just regaining strength after being out for so long, because the rotation - which has been one of the worst in the majors (xFIP of 4.21 is 28th) - could use a shot in the arm (so to speak).