Not only is Madison Bumgarner the best southpaw pitching prospect in the minors since both Brian Matusz and David Price got called up to the majors, but Bumgarner could be the best prospect left in the minors.
At such a young age Bumgarner has dominated hitters in various levels, and produced one of the best starts ever in his first pro year. In 2008 Bumgarner went 15-3 with a 1.46 ERA and amassing an absurd 164 strikeouts in 141.2 IP.
Bumgarner is a prime example of great scouting by the Giants staff as he is one of many recent starting pitching the excellent work done by the Giants scouting staff in recent years that has developed a dynamic young nucleus of starting pitching.
Fastball Velocity: 9.0/10
Bumgarner’s bread and butter is his fastball which is thrown in the mid 90s yet touches 96 MPH. Bumgarner has shown improved velocity over the year, a testament to his work ethic.
Standing 6’4", 215-lbs. Bumgarner is an intimidating presence on the mound and uses his height to create excellent movement on his fastball. Bumgarner throws a sinking fastball on left handed batters and a cut fastball which runs in on the hands of righties as an out pitch.
Bumgarner had a 0.19 HR/9 IP rate which exemplifies the fact that with good movement hitters find it very difficult to lock on to a pitch.
Fastball Command: 8.6/10
One of the reasons Bumgarner’s fastball caused so much trouble for hitters is because so far he has shown excellent command. In 2008 Bumgarner only surrendered 21 walks in 141 IP good for a minuscule 1.33 BB/9IP rate.
Though Bumgarner’s BB rate almost doubled with his promotion to AA, his WHIP stood at 1.05 while opponents hit just .215 against him. Bumgarner will need to continue to harness his command as he rises up the ranks in order to secure a spot in the majors.
Secondary Pitches: 7.8/10
Along with his devastating fastball, Bumgarner possess an average changeup alongside a well above average slider.
Bumgarner developed his slider quite late in order to prevent injury at a young age but his slider packs heavy potential with a natural break that can be almost unhittable to left handed batters at times.
Though the biggest improvement in his pitch arsenal for Bumgarner will be his changeup. He uses a great delivery to create an identical arm slot for his release which, with time, could turn into a plus pitch.
Bumgarner is a special player not only because he has posted incredible numbers at such a young age but scouts drool over his work ethic that has been pointed out as a major source of his improvement over the last couple years.
Bumgarner also uses an excellent mound presence and makeup to take over games especially when he hits a bit of trouble.
MLB Comparison: Randy Johnson
Major League Stats:
Expect averages of: 12+ wins, 100+ K’s, sup 3.50 ERA
Bumgarner pitches in the pitching friendly confines of AT&T Park which makes him all the more attractive as a fantasy option for both mixed leagues and NL only leagues.
Bumgarner could struggle initially with command issues due to such a young age but will be a great source of K’s all over the board. Though Bumgarner’s true fantasy value won’t surface until 2010, if called up in 2009 Bumgarner should be picked up in Keeper Leagues everywhere.
Risky Prediction: Bumgarner will reach 250 Major League Strikeouts before the age of 24