Homegrown Talent Heading To The Big Leagues

Most batters don’t even see the fastballs that leave the hands of Owasso’s Dylan Bundy and Broken Arrow’s Archie Bradley.  Most pro scouts were left drooling as they watched Bundy and Bradley mow down the opposition and looked in astonishment at radar guns with readings in the high 90’s.  Most baseball fans will never see talented arms like these come through Oklahoma ever again.

Bundy is the three-time Oklahoma State Baseball Player of the Year. (courtesy bleacherreport.com)

June 6th, 2011 was a historic night in this state as Bundy and Bradley were both selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft.  Bundy, who just days before was named Gatorade National Player of the Year, was taken fourth overall by the Baltimore Orioles.  Bradley, fresh off a win in the state championship game, was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the seventh pick.

“Watching the NFL and NBA draft, you see all these guys and the excitement but you don’t fully understand it until you go through it,” said Bradley moments after hearing his name called and donning an Arizona hat. “Going through it right now it’s simply amazing and to be here in this moment with my family, friends and coaches that have helped me to this point, it’s unreal.”

Bundy’s older brother Bobby was drafted by the Orioles in 2008.  Dylan said he can’t wait to play alongside his brother and can’t think of a better place to start his professional career.  “I really can’t because I already know a lot of things the Orioles have to offer and with him right there by my side the whole time will be great.  Secretly, in the back of my head I was like I really want to go to Baltimore to be with my brother, that was my dream and it’s been a dream come true so far.”

Bradley committed to OU for baseball and football, but will likely never step on campus. (courtesy bleacherreport.com)

Bundy and Bradley are living a dream, and the nightmare is finally over for any team that had to face them.  The numbers are simply staggering.  Bundy struck out 158 batters, allowed only two earned runs all season, tossed a no-hitter, and had six more one-hit outings.  On more than one occasion, Bundy’s fastball was clocked at over 100 miles per hour.  Bradley finished his senior season with a 12-1 record, 137 strikeouts to only 11 walks, and just three earned runs in 71 innings of work.  He capped it all off with a two-hit, 14 strikeout performance of Bundy’s Owasso club in a 4-0 victory that gave Broken Arrow its first state title in 20 years.

In many ways, the two right-handers couldn’t be more different.  Bundy is quiet, serious, and soft-spoken.  Bradley’s enthusiasm and energy is almost contagious.  Bundy’s reaction to hearing his name called during the draft was a simple smile and a look of embarrassment at having to show that much emotion.  Bradley was completely overcome by the moment, and though he tried, couldn’t hide his tears of joy.  Bundy committed to play baseball at Texas.  Bradley signed with Oklahoma.  Despite the differences and the rivalry between their two high schools, the two pitchers are best friends.  It’s not so much their talent or their shared experience, but their love of baseball that binds them together.

Dylan Bundy reacts to being drafted by the Orioles as Archie Bradley (right) cheers for his good friend. (courtesy owassoreporter.com)

“We’ve had a great friendship,” said Bundy. “He’s pretty much a brother to me as everyone knows and I couldn’t wait to hear his name called as much as mine.”

“Me and Dylan are wired the same way,” said Bradley. “The way we approach the game, the way we handle our business, the way we play the game and the passion we have for it is identical.  I consider him a brother and this friendship will continue for a long time.”

August 15th is the deadline for Bundy and Bradley to either sign a professional contract or play college baseball.  Top ten picks don’t usually go to college, and on draft night, it was fairly easy to see which way Bradley was leaning.

“As soon as I found out the major leagues were an option for me, my personal goal is to be in the big leagues by the time I’m 21 years old,” said Bradley. “There are guys in the big leagues right now who are 20.  That’s the goal I have set for myself but at the same time I understand it’s a process and everyone has to put their time in.”

In typical Bundy fashion, the Owasso product played it close to the vest. “I still got a huge decision to make,” said Bundy. “That’s not the decision right there on TV.  My plans are to prepare and be ready for college next year and if we work out a deal then we do.”

At just 18 years old, Bundy and Bradley stand to make millions of dollars in contracts and signing bonuses.  The most impressive thing about these pitching phenoms, is that you would never know of their super stardom.  Both are incredibly humble young men, always deferring credit for their success to coaches and teammates first.  They represent the Oklahoma values of hard work, sacrifice, and community.  In other words, Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley are worth rooting for.