Madison Bumgarner Player Projection No. 68

Key Stats: Madison Bumgarner finished 2012 with a flourish. In the month of August he was the 36th best player in fantasy baseball and in September he was the 11th best player. Overall after the all-star break, Bumgarner had a 2.52 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 99 strikeouts in 100 innings. Sometimes splits are over emphasized, but for a player with Bumgarner’s experience (2011 was his first full season), I think the splits are signs of adjustments (for better or worse).

Skeptics Say: Bumgarner struck out 8.4 batters per 9 inning last season, but in 2010 there were people that were doubting his ability to strikeout hitters when his K/9 was below in the minors and at the MLB level. Perhaps throwing a harder slider last year (3 miles per hour harder according to Fangraphs) helped him overcome whatever issues he was having.

Doubt will linger in his ability to be a pitcher that gets wins. Despite his success and good health last season, he won only 13 of his 33 starts. The Giants offense gets Buster Posey back, but they are still a below average team offensively. 

Peer Comparison: Michael Pineda is ranked ahead of Bumgarner at ESPN, but not at CBS. I agree it’s close, but would have to give the nod to Pineda in a draft. Here’s a look at the two players numbers from last season side by side.

 

Player

Age

Innings

Strikeouts

ERA

WHIP

Pineda

22

171

173

3.74

1.10

Bumgarner

21

204.2

191

3.21

1.21

Pineda’s xFIP was 3.53 which was almost a run higher than Bumgarner’s xFIP. That’s telling given that Pineda is going to a new club with an old left side of the infield, old catcher, and a slow right fielder. That flaw though will be made up because of two different factors. The first being Pineda himself. It’s clear that he wore down in his first big league season. With rest and a little experience now, he will be more consistent all season. Also, as bad as the Yankees might be fielding behind him, they will score a few hundred more runs than the Mariners did last season behind Pineda. That will lead him to more wins than Bumgarner.

Team Outlook: Posey’s return will help Bumgarner and the rest of the staff in run support, but it was interesting to note that Bumgarner pitched better after Posey went down. This was probably a coincidence rather than issues related to how comfortable Bumgarner was pitching to Posey, but still something to watch for at the start of the season.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #19 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #21 Starting Pitcher & #82 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #20 Starting Pitcher & #94 Overall; RotoChamp: #71 Overall

Projection: The wins will continue to be an issue, but there’s not a whole lot else to complain about. Bumgarner has shown better control and can pitch to lefties and righties.

14 wins 3.08 ERA 1.19 WHIP 195 K in 197 innings