BALTIMORE -- Jim Thome has had more than 10,000 plate appearances in his 22-year Major League career, meaning he's seen his fair share of pitchers.
So when Thome throws around the type of praise he did after watching top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy's first start with Double-A Bowie on Tuesday, it's worth taking notice.
"He might be one of the best young pitchers I've seen in quite a while," Thome said. "He's got so much upside to him."
With Thome watching from just a few rows behind home plate, Bundy allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings, earning a win in his Double-A debut.
At the request of manager Buck Showalter, Thome took the 40-minute drive to Bowie to watch Bundy from a hitter's perspective, a nice break from the monotony of rehabbing a herniated disk in his neck.
Thome came away impressed with Bundy's physical appearance, and Showalter said Thome reported on things like presentation and tipping pitches, ultimately giving a report very similar to Bowie pitching coach Kennie Steenstra's.
"He looks like a great pitcher," Thome said. "He's got a great arm, and it's fun. It's fun going down there seeing him. He's obviously got a big, bright career ahead of him."
Although Thome said he enjoyed the scouting process, he didn't want to speculate on whether a coaching, scouting or managerial role could be in his future.
"It's hard to say," Thome said. "When I'm done playing, I want to spend some time with my kids. Maybe one day a little bit, but not right away."
Thome was equally noncommittal on whether he thought Bundy could be useful to the O's in September, when Major League rosters expand to 40 players.
"That's not my call," Thome said. "My thing of it is, he's ... got so much ability and so much positive upside to him. That's for other people to decide and figure that out."