April 22, 2021

Dylan Bundy’s Quiet Superpower | FanGraphs Baseball (FanGraphs)

Dylan Bundy’s career has hardly flown under the radar. He was arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball when he debuted, and his subsequent injury troubles made the next part of his career a well-known cautionary tale. When he returned to effectiveness in the second half of 2019, then broke out in 2020, it was a story arc we’ve all seen before: the post-hype prospect makes good.

While you might know that, you probably don’t know the secret skill that’s powering Bundy’s resurgence. It’s not a high-octane fastball — he’s lost that since his prospect days. It’s not a gaudy swinging strike total — he’s no slouch in that department, but nor does he excel. What Bundy does best is loop breaking balls through the strike zone and coax batters into taking them. He might be baseball’s best at it, and the piles of free strikes he racks up power the rest of his game.

Want a quick visual before we dig into the numbers? Tim Anderson is a free swinger, but even on 0-1, he couldn’t unlock his bat against this slider:

Want it with a curveball? Watch Bundy demonstrate the low and away boundary of the strike zone to Adam Eaton:

Of course, I could show you two…

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