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Is Angels’ Dylan Bundy an American League Cy Young candidate?

Dylan Bundy, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
Dylan Bundy, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
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Angels, Dylan Bundy
Dylan Bundy, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

Dylan Bundy is evolving as a pitcher

If you go back and watch the video of Dylan Bundy’s start on Thursday, you’ll see a much different pitcher than the one Bundy was in his youth. He was moving the ball in and out of the zone, pitching to the edges and generally keeping Mariners hitters off balance.

Once a pitcher that relied on his fastball to bully hitters, the 27-year-old has evolved with age and has begun to focus on pitchability instead. Through three starts, Bundy is using his fastball at a career-low rate of 39.4%. Meanwhile, his slider usage is up 6.5% from 2019, his curveball is up 2.3%, and his change-up usage has increased by 1.9%.

Oddly enough, the change to more pitches with movement has come with an increase of control for Bundy. Through 21.2 innings of work, he’s walked just a pair of hitters. Meanwhile, hitters are swinging at pitches outside the zone at a clip of 37.2%, up nearly 1.6% from 2019.

With Bundy relying more on pitches with movement, he’s limiting hard contact as a result. While his barrel rate is identical to his 2019 figure of 5.9%, he’s reduced his launch angle by nearly 3.5 degrees and his hard-hit rate is down 6.4% from last season. As a result, his cumulative batting line against of .145/.188/.263 is pretty much in line with his expected numbers based on contact, .181/.195/.318.

Of course, evolution goes both ways, and the reports on Bundy will start making their way around the league. As such, his pitch mix may need to change from game to game, but so far he’s shown the ability to adapt.

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