(AP)With Bryce Harper and Mike Trout ensconced comfortably in the big-league lifestyle, it has come time for the baseball world to identify another super prospect to hype endlessly while he's in the minors.
Yeah, Dylan Bundy will do.
While there are plenty of other prospects closer to making the majors and are great in their own right, the 19-year-old right-hander is making the type of debut that can inspire a "Matt Wieters facts" campaign of his own.
Place the cart before the horse! Count the eggs before they're hatched! The No. 4 pick in last year's draft has made four starts at low-A Delmarva and produced the type of line that'll get you drooling. Through 17 innings, he's allowed only one hit and two walks while striking out 25 batters. Forty-nine of the 52 batters he's faced have headed back to the dugout with disappointment in their hearts.
Of course, here's the point where we have to point out that Bundy is facing hitters that didn't garner the $4 million signing bonus that he did. Or that he's only about a year removed from attending his high school prom back in Oklahoma.
Still, it's fun to fire up the marching band and so you can't begrudge the Orioles fans who are salivating at the thought of finally having a true ace to place atop their rotation. Bundy's start has been so good that they're already talking timetables in Charm City.
So here is my thought: Let him dominate and then move. At each level. But resist the temptation to have him appear in a big-league game in 2012. Let that be his goal for 2013.
Sure, it might be OK to get his feet wet in September — I wouldn't be opposed to that -- but he's a year removed from high school. It's an exceptionally long season. Let him experience success in year one. And shoot for an appearance with the Orioles at some point in 2013 — if he demonstrates dominance at the appropriate level next year.
We're already well acquainted with this routine, having gone through it with Stephen Strasburg's rapid ascent down in Washington. Of course, the big difference was that Strasburg was a college pitcher with plenty of experience while Bundy still hasn't come close to handling the workload that a professional career will require. You can be sure there are going to be plenty of debates over how much Bundy can handle between now and the time he throws his first pitch at Camden Yards.
Until then, we'll just throw out the rumor that Dylan Bundy reserved dylanbundyfacts.com as part of a project in grade school computer class. (No, seriously, it's already taken.)