Originally written on Full Spectrum Baseball  |  Last updated 8/20/12

With the playoffs starting in some leagues and with roughly only two weeks left in the fantasy baseball regular season in others, now is the time for keeper and dynasty league owners to find the future stars of tomorrow. In keeper and dynasty leagues, you always need to be on the look out for the next potential star and keeper for your roster, whether that player fills an empty keeper spot or upgrades a previously kept player at said position. September is a key month in scouting your keepers of the future. In the next two finders keepers articles, I will be profiling the number one pitching keeper prospect and number one offensive keeper prospect, as graded by me, with both surprisingly being rumored as September call ups.  First up and this week’s profile is my number one recommended pitching keeper prospect, Baltimore Orioles right-handed pitching prospect Dylan Bundy.

Dylan Bundy was the 4th pick overall in the 2011 major league baseball draft. Drafted out of Owasso (Okla.) High School, he was the 2011 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, Baseball America High School Player of the Year Award and the USA Today National Player of the Year. In Keith Law’s mid season prospect ranks on July 13th, Bundy was rated the number two prospect in all of baseball and was number one in Baseball of America’s mid season prospect rankings posted July 5th. So far, Bundy has lived up to the hype as he’s been lights out in his first season in the minors. He posted eight consecutive scoreless starts in Low-A, then when promoted to High-A, he struck out 63 batters in 54 2/3 innings. He then went 5.1 innings giving up 2 earned runs with 3 strikeouts and 3 walks in his AA debut. Overall, he is 8-3  with a 2.01 ERA, 106 Ks and 22 BBs in 20  games started over 89.2 innings pitched across three minor league levels this year. He also appeared in this season’s Future Games during All-Star weekend held in Kansas City. Kevin Goldstein stated recently in his article Time for O’s to call up Bundy, ”Bundy’s fastball sits in the mid-to-upper 90s and both his curveball and changeup are advanced, and for much of the season he hasn’t been allowed to throw his low 90s cutter. Which many believe is his best pitch. For many, Bundy is the best pitching prospect in baseball.”

Recently, the Orioles sent their designated hitter, Jim Thome, currently on the disabled list, to watch Bundy’s first start in AA. Showalter said Thome was impressed but told the manager he thinks Bundy needs to add a slider to be successful in the majors. “Well, he does have a slider,” Showalter says. “A real good one. Actually, it’s more of a cutter. They took it away from him down there to reduce the wear and tear. He really wants to throw it. Imagine how good he’s going to be if he’s throwing a cutter, too.”

The Orioles have been very conservative with Bundy this season as he was only allowed to go three-innings in starts in April. He was allowed past five innings for the first time Aug. 1 which was his 18th start of the season. The plan currently in AA is to have Bundy pitch in a six-man rotation  and make a total of four starts, the last of which is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 1. That is the day major league roster limit expands from 25 to 40. This also would leave Bundy at approximately 100 innings pitched at the end of August which is enough under the roughly 125 innings at which the Orioles plan to cap him, for him to help them in September. The Orioles recently shocked the baseball world in calling up their top offensive prospect in their organization Manny Machado directly from AA skipping AAA altogether. So a September call up for Bundy is definitely not out of the question especially with the Orioles in the thick if the playoff race and looking to make their first post season appearance since 1997.

Even if he is not called up in September, which all indications point to him getting the call, he is predicted to start in the Orioles’ rotation next year. If he is available in your league, stash him now and keep a close eye on his possible promotion and results if and when he is promoted. Here is his percentage owned in the following leagues; 0% ESPN, 2% Yahoo, 22% CBS. Pitching prospects are always hard to predict but with some comparing Bundy to the likes of Justin Verlander, Dwight Gooden and Tim Lincecum as well as his pedigree, youth and fact that he is on the fast track to the majors. I grade his keeper potential as an A+.

Will you be picking up and keeping Dylan Bundy? Do you agree with the Orioles possibly calling him up come September and are you buying the hype? Feel free to let me know in the comments and as always follow me on twitter @FantasyzrTJ.

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