This has been a busy month for top prospects in the San Francisco Giants organization. First, Buster Posey was called up, and then, the other day, Madison Bumgarner was called up to take the place of an injured Tim Lincecum.
The left-handed phenom made his major-league debut on Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres. Bumgarner gave up five hits, two runs, walked one, and struck out four in 5.1 innings of work. That is a pretty solid debut.
If there was a blemish in Bumgarner’s debut, it was that his velocity was down to around 88-90 mph. I, for one, am not concerned about this. The name of the game is to get people out and to win games. Just for the record, Bamgarner’s career record in the minor leagues is 27-5.
If Bumgarner can do that throwing 88 mph, then good for him. There were many pitchers who threw 99 mph who couldn’t get anyone out.
Bumgarner should be a factor in the Giants’ rotation in late 2010. Bumgarmer pitching to Posey behind the plate is a nice vision for Giants fans.
Here are some other facts about Madison Bumgarner:
College: None. Went to South Caldwell High School in Hudson, North Carolina
Drafted: 10th pick of the first round of the 2007 draft
Minor League Stats:
2008 Single-A: 15-3 with a 1.46 ERA with 164 Ks and 21 walks in 141.2 IP.
2009 High-A and Double-A: 12-2 with a 1.85 ERA with 92 Ks and 34 walks in 131.1 IP.
Keith Law Ranking and Analysis
Ranking: No. 6 out of 100 best prospects in baseball
Analysis: A year ago, Bumgarner was a live arm, a projectable body, and a name to file away for the future. He only started throwing breaking balls late in his high school career, and the rudimentary secondary stuff plus his low arm slot had scouts—including me—assuming he was a long way away from the majors.
His slider made enormous strides in his first full year in pro ball, and his changeup is now solid-average, no small feat for a pitcher who throws from a low 3/4 slot. He’s unusual for pitchers of his ilk in that his arm action is fairly short and compact; many pitchers who throw from below 3/4 get long in the back, almost slinging the ball, and have trouble turning over a changeup or staying on top of breaking balls as a result.
His command and control are both above-average, and he was aggressive in going after South Atlantic League hitters, who stood little chance against him. The Giants were careful with Bumgarner in 2008, but there’s a good chance he finishes this year in Double-A and shows up in the majors at some point in 2010.