September 23, 2021

Alternatives to Madison Bumgarner | Baseball Essential (Baseball Essential)

Madison Bumgarner is widely regarded as one of the top left-handed starting pitchers set to hit the open market this offseason. It’s widely expected that he brings home nine figures this winter, but I, for the life of me, cannot understand why. At his peak, Bumgarner averaged roughly 94 mph on his fastball, induced groundballs at a rate near 50 percent, and contact from opposing batters was medium over twice as much as it was hard.

Fast forward to the 2019 season. Bumgarner has averaged 91-92 mph on his fastball the last four seasons, has seen his fly-ball rate surpass his ground-ball rate, and has allowed hard contact at a rate 18 percent higher than at his peak or a roughly 71 percent increase. While his bottom-line numbers remained ace-level until 2019, Bumgarner’s FIP has suggested that his performance hasn’t been quite as sharp since 2017, when he carried a 3.95 FIP.

My projections have Bumgarner throwing 179.2 innings of 3.61 ERA ball with strong results in K/9 (8.34) and BB/9 (2.22). This is a reasonable projection that would likely slot MadBum as a mid-to-lower tier two to a strong three, which, in conjunction with the fact that he can go late into games, has…

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