Dominating At Age 19: Why Madison Bumgarner Should Truly Be Untouchable

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IJuly 19, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 12: U.S. Futures All-Star Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants runs onto the field during the 2009 XM All-Star Futures Game at Busch Stadium on July 12, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

As the July 31 trading deadline approaches, the rumor mill is buzzing as to how the San Francisco Giants should try and improve their team for this unpredicted playoff push they are currently embarking on.

The names that have been thrown out there are not just ones on the offensive side of the baseball. However, because there isn’t a lot of options in the majors, the asking price for a big-name talent that could come to San Francisco has been constant—No. 1 prospect Madison Bumgarner.

What exactly has the 19-year-old left-hander done for an encore in his second full-season in the minor leagues?

A 9-2 combined record between High Class-A San Jose and Double-A Connecticut with a 1.56 ERA. He’s walked only 24 batters in 86.2 innings pitched and recorded a minuscule 1.02 WHIP this season.

So we add up what he has done last year when he won the South Atlantic League pitching triple crown and his line reads as follows:

24-5, 1.50 ERA, 228.1 IP, 235 K, 45 BB, 5.22 K/BB, 0.96 WHIP

If those numbers don’t get you excited about what is to come, then you might have to reevaluate what you look for in a prospect.

Then consider the kid is doing this with a still-developing breaking ball and off-speed pitch and you have to believe he’s only going to get better as he continues to rack up innings as a professional.

You can teach a changeup—see Lincecum, Tim or Cain, Matt. You can’t teach 97 MPH on the black and a frame that is built to eat up innings.

These kinds of talents just don’t appear in every system on a regular basis and yet the Giants could very well have another one of them in the rotation come April 2010.

Even after taking a no-hit bid into the sixth inning his last outing Thursday, Mad Bum wasn’t satisfied. No, it’s not because he gave up a hit or got pulled because of a strict pitch count after five and one-third scoreless, it’s because he issued a season-high four walks.

There’s still no reason to be ashamed, however, He’s only allowed two runs in the last 28-1/3 innings spanning over five outings.

Young pitchers with the Giants who are already dominating wanting to get even better seems to be contagious. That seems like another reason to like him, doesn’t it?

And this is somebody you want to trade to get a big bat like Matt Holliday or possibly even Roy Halladay?

You know the price is going to be high for somebody that would put this 2009 version Giants over the top. Then you consider the price will be jacked up even further with not much of anything of that kind of quality on the block, things would get a little interesting in terms of putting a package together.

And that is why when called about including Bumgarner in a deal, Giants GM Brian Sabean should politely say, “No thank you.”

It’s not because watching the Doc carve every start or Matt Holliday hit bombs isn’t something yours truly would love watching in the orange and black, but it’s because the price that it’s going to take to get somebody as big as one of them.

Bumgarner would only be the centerpiece of the package, and surely would have to include at least one other top prospect.

Look, we know the Giants need offense, that is pretty well documented anywhere you look, but why would you take the best pitching prospect in the minor leagues right now out of the future plans?

Believe me, things are not that desperate in San Francisco to go off and sell the farm for a season or two of success.

Remember, the Giants are still in a rebuilding mode. They were not expected to be at the place in the standings where they are now and because they are in the position they are in, that doesn’t mean their organizational outlook for the future is going to change.

They have gone from having the worst minor league systems in all of baseball to now one of the best around in just three short years.

Sabean is not going to draft somebody as high as Bumgarner was and then have the ownership group shell out serious cash in signing bonuses for Bumgarner and Posey just to spin them a year-or-two after they are drafted for some soon-to-be free agent.

To change the way you run your franchise now, after all the work and money that has gone into it and with Sabean without a contract for next year, might as well be career suicide.

Would you rather have two months of Holliday, a year-and-a-half of Halladay with the future uncertain or a guaranteed number of years with Bumgarner completing a sick trifecta?

The answer is, “C: Bumgarner.”

How can you not salivate with what the future holds for the Giants?

Lincecum, Bumgarner, and Cain being caught by Mr. Posey. Those four names should be music to anybody’s ears.