My thesis on why Madison Bumgarner is really, really good: he’s very young; he’s good at pitching; and, he’s very young.
Writing post-game reactions to Bumgarner starts has become one of the most brainless exercises I can think of. He’s really, really good. And he’s really, really young. Add two parts youth-to-league; one part strong pitching peripherals; bake for an hour at 350 degrees and you’ve got yourself a perfectly fine Madison Bumgarner blog post.
After last night’s complete game – the first in Bumgarner’s career – the young pitcher ranks in the following categories among National League starters.
K% – 27th (20.6%)
BB% – 5th (4.9%)
K/BB – 9th (4.18)
FIP – 12th (3.22)
xFIP – 12th (3.42)
IP – 1st (110.2)
He’s posted a better FIP than guys like Clayton Kershaw (3.25), Adam Wainwright (3.31), Annibal Sanchez (3.47), Ian Kennedy (3.82), and Shaun Marcum (3.83); He’s walking fewer batters than Cliff Lee (5.1%); and, he’s leading the NL in innings pitched. Good lord, that’s just a ton of good stuff rolled into one man.
Bumgarner is a slider-throwin’, snot-rocket blowin’ badass. His slider, as usual, has been a key pitch. In last night’s game he did a terrific job of burying the pitch down-and-in on right-handed batters.
That’s the location of all Bumgarner sliders against RHB last night. To me, that looks like an extremely unpleasant at-bat to take. I know we like to Matt Cain a lot about Matt Cain, but I’m getting the feeling that we’ll soon just be saying “Madison Bumgarner” after every start he makes. While most pitchers are still in the low-levels of baseball, trying to figure out how to throw strikes, the Giants have a 22-year-old that has the demeanor of a grizzled veteran with the stuff to match. It’s not supposed to happen like this; but, it has happened for the Giants. And boy are we lucky.
So, in summation: Madison Bumgarner.