Jeff Dahn is a staff writer for Perfect Game and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Owasso, Okla. high school senior right-hander Dylan Bundy spent an early April afternoon helping shore-up the pitcher’s mound at Owasso High’s Stigall Field. It seems the mound was taking on sub-surface water and starting to sink.
“We got some water underneath the dirt we put down, and the mound started to sink – it was like a little ditch,” Bundy said during a recent telephone conversation with Perfect Game. “We had to add a couple of inches of dirt in there and a couple more inches on top of it to make it look right. It was about a two-hour job … but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Rest assured Bundy will do whatever is necessary to keep that mound in tip-top shape. On many spring days and evenings over the past one-plus years, that bump of dirt has served as Bundy’s workplace.
An overpowering 6-foot-1, 200-pounder who boasts a 96 mph fastball and 3.6 GPA, entered his senior year at Owasso as Perfect Game’s No. 5-ranked national prospect – No. 2 in the state of Oklahoma – in the high school class of 2011.
Only left-hander Daniel Norris, right-hander Jose Fernandez, right-hander Archie Bradley and shortstop Francisco Lindor are ahead of Bundy in PG’s national prospect rankings.
After finishing 11-1 with a 1.58 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings as a junior in 2010, Bundy started this season for the No. 3 nationally-ranked Rams with a perfect 5-0 record with 66 strikeouts in 30 innings.
He allowed only one hit and struck out 14 over five innings in a 8-0 shutout of Division 5A top-ranked Bishop Kelly on March 30, as 6A No. 2 Owasso completed the month with a 13-1 record. Its only loss was to Lake Wales, Fla., on a spring-break trip to Winter Haven, Fla., in mid-March.
“We’re having a real good spring,” Bundy said. “We had a little mishap when we lost to Lake Wales down there in Florida … but we’ve been playing pretty well as a team so far, so we’re doing good.”
Bundy said he came out for his final season of high school ball ready to go from day one.
“I’ve been feeling really good,” he said. “I came out hot, throwing the ball really hard early in the year, which is kind of a surprise for me – usually I start out slow. This year I feel real loose and ready to go.”
April 15 is a date on the 2011 calendar a lot of people in northeast Oklahoma have circled, and it has nothing to do with federal income tax deadlines.
That is the day nationally No. 3-ranked Owasso hosts No. 4 Broken Arrow in a titanic clash of Frontier Valley Conference heavyweights. Broken Arrow features the talents of ace right-hander Archie Bradley, the only prospect Perfect Game has ranked higher than Bundy in the state of Oklahoma.
PG High School road warriors Ben Collman and Todd Gold will provide real-time box scores and scouting blogs from that game as part of their 10-city, 11-day road-trip across the Southwest. The Owasso-Broken Arrow game is likely to be the biggest regular season high school game in the nation this spring.
“I’m definitely looking forward to that game,” Bundy said. “It’s at our place this year and it’s definitely a big game because Owasso and B.A. are big rivals. There’s going to be a real big crowd there and I’m pretty sure right now me and Archie are going to pitch that game. We should draw a lot of people to the ballpark that day.”
Collman and Gold won’t be the only interested observers on hand. More than 100 pro scouts are likely to be in attendance if Bundy and Bradley square-off as anticipated.
Bundy, 18, no longer feels any added pressure performing in front of an assortment of scouts.
“It’s pretty easy to shake it off right now,” he said. “I’ve been going to showcases since I was a sophomore in high school, and I’ve been to all these big showcases where there are (hundreds) of scouts there, so I’m kind of use to it now.”
Bundy was a 2011 Rawlings 1st Team Preseason All-American and is a two-time recipient of the Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year award. He won his first Gatorade award as a sophomore at nearby Sperry (Okla.) High School, before transferring to Owasso before his junior year.
Owasso has won 11 state championships in its history, including eight since 1998 and three straight from 2007-09; the Rams have been to 13 of the past 14 6A state finals. Bundy helped Sperry win two straight Division 3A state championships in 2008-09 before departing for Owasso.
“I had a fun time over there at Sperry and we had a real good team; I won two state championships over there,” Bundy said. “No one could really understand why I moved and everybody thought I betrayed them, but I just moved over here to get myself better and prepare myself for the next level, and me and my family felt that was the best decision we could make.”
Bundy was named an Aflac All-American last summer but because he had pitched in the championship game of 2010 Connie Mack World Series only two days earlier, he wasn’t able to throw in the Aflac All-American Classic.
He played in the CMWS for the DBAT Mustangs – Broken Arrow’s Bradley was also on the DBAT pitching staff – and pitched in a championship game loss to the Midland Redskins. Despite not being able to pitch in the Aflac Classic, he enjoyed the experience.
“It was a lot of fun,” Bundy said. “Being out there signing all those autographs with all those good players, it was a blast.”
Bundy has played in several Perfect Game WWBA events since 2008 and also participated in the 2009 PG Junior National Showcase at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
“(Perfect Game) puts on some real good (events) and I can’t really remember how many of them I’ve been to,” he said. “I’ve been out there with a team and I’ve been out there (individually) to showcase my talent and it’s been a real fun time.
Bundy has signed to play collegiately for head coach Augie Garrido at 11th-ranked Texas, and also projects as a 1st round selection in the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft. Perfect Game ranks Bundy as the 16th overall top prospect in the 2011 Draft, a list that includes draft-eligible college, junior college and high school players.
Bundy is looking to become the second Owasso High graduate to be chosen in the 1st round in the last five years. Infielder Peter Kozma was taken by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 18th overall pick in the 2007 Draft.
David Rawnsley, the National Director of Scouting for Perfect Game, projects in his latest mock draft that the New York Mets will take Bundy with the No. 13 overall pick as the first high school pitcher selected.
“Bundy is perhaps the most polished of all the top prep hurlers, and if healthy should have a relatively quick path to the big leagues,” Rawnsley wrote. “He could go much higher than this to the right team.”
Bundy knows he’ll likely have a decision to make between playing professionally or collegiately, but he’s trying to not let it be a distraction.
“I really haven’t thought about either of them,” Bundy said. “I’m just having fun my senior year and trying not to get ahead of myself. I want to play my senior year to the best of my ability and see what happens in the future. I’m not going to look (ahead) to anything right now.
“I’m definitely going to be able to stay focused,” he said. “I just work with my teammates, and my goal is to win a state championship and have as much fun as I can my senior year, and enjoy it right now.”
Dylan’s older brother, Bobby Bundy, was an 8th-round pick by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2008 Draft, and is about to begin his fourth season in the Orioles’ minor league system. The right-hander will be pitching for the Frederick (MD) Keys in the high-Class A Carolina League.
As a youngster, Dylan used Bobby’s experiences as a guiding light.
“When I was a freshman in high school, my brother was a senior in high school, and I saw all the scouts coming to watch him and all the showcases he was doing,” Bundy said. “And I said, ‘dang,’ maybe if I work my butt off and become like him, maybe I can be in the same situation (someday).”
That day has arrived.