KANSAS CITY -- The Orioles have reached the All-Star break with a winning record for the first time since 2005 and in position to make a run at their first playoff berth since 1997.Their success has had an impact on two of their top Minor League prospects. "It has for everybody," pitcher Dylan Bundy said. "That just drives me that much more to get up there someday and do something to help them. I can't wait to get up there and compete."
"I think about it all the time," shortstop Manny Machado said. "This organization used to be really good when they had guys like Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr., and it's turning around. The team is playing well, they have a good manager in Buck Showalter. ... We feel it down in the system. It's a winning vibe from the Major Leagues to the Rookie League. It makes you want to win all that much more."Bundy and Machado were on a Major League field on Sunday afternoon, helping the United States to a 17-5 win over the World Team in the All-Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Bundy, who pitched a scoreless fourth inning despite allowing three hits, held a special honor for the U.S. Team as the youngest player on the squad. He is much higher on other lists. The fourth-overall pick in the 2011 Draft out of Owasso (Okla.) High, he is ranked seventh on the MLB.com Top 100 prospect list, a preseason ranking that will likely only go higher the next time around. "That's just other people's opinion," Bundy said. "I'm glad people think highly of me, but I have worked hard the past five or six years to get to this point and I need to keep working hard to get to the big leagues." He has already received one promotion in his first professional season. He started out with Low-A Delmarva in the South Atlantic League and pitched 30 scoreless innings over eight starts. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out 40, earning a promotion to High-A Frederick in the Carolina League. His numbers there aren't quite as overwhelming, but still impressive for a 19-year-old right-hander. He has made seven starts and is 4-2 with a 3.58 ERA. In 32 2/3 innings, he has allowed 30 hits and 11 walks while striking out 34. "The thing I've been working on is throwing my offspeed stuff when I'm behind in the count," Bundy said. "You can't just throw your fastball. You have to be able to use your changeup, curve or cutter. I'm getting better at that." A Major League scout who follows the Orioles system said Bundy has a fastball clocked at 92-97 mph with good movement. Bundy can also locate it on both sides of the plate. The scout said Bundy also has an advanced changeup for his age that could progress to well above average when he gets to the big leagues. Bundy also has a curveball with sharpness and depth. One concern is that his fastball can flatten out at times. Otherwise, Bundy presents the complete package. "His arm is electric," Machado said. Machado, who went 1-for-3 with a two-run double on Sunday, speaks with the wisdom of an older player. He just turned 20 on Friday, making him the third-youngest player on the United States team. But, after splitting time between Delmarva and Frederick in 2011, he is playing at Double-A Bowie in the Eastern League and went into the Futures Game hitting .264 with 42 runs scored, seven home runs and 48 RBIs in 84 games. He has a .347 on-base percentage and a .418 slugging percentage. "Right now, for me, it's all about experience and playing as many games as possible," Machado said. "I want to make sure I'm ready. When I get the call, I want to make sure I'm ready and can stay there a long time." Machado was the third-overall pick in the 2010 Draft out of Brito Miami (Fla.) High and is currently ranked as No. 3 prospect by MLB.com. He is No. 1 among shortstops. Machado is 6-foot-3, but the Orioles have been known to have success with tall shortstops. That Major League scout who follows the Orioles said Machado has been challenged by playing Double-A at a relatively young age, having gone through some growing pains, but he has improved as the season has progressed. His swing can get big with some holes, but Machado has great hands, very good power potential and a good feel for the strike zone. That includes the ability to wait on a pitch and go to the opposite field. Defensively, Machado does not have the prototypical quick feet of a smaller shortstop, but he still has the ability to play there. The scout said Machado has good athleticism, body control and hands. His arm is strong, although occasionally erratic. Machado also has a good mentor. He speaks regularly with Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who will be in Kansas City this week with the American League All-Star team. "The main thing he tells me is just keep hustling, give it 110 percent and make sure you leave it all on the field," Machado said. Many things are being passed down in the Orioles organization right now. For Bundy and Machado, winning is still No. 1 and it is why they are eager to get to Baltimore. "I'm all about winning," Machado said. "If I could do something, anything, to help that team, I want to do it."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.