Big Game Madison Bumgarner
Legendary Lefty, Madison Bumgarner
Some athletes shine the brightest when it isn't such a big deal. The pressure is off, and the game is on, and production and contributions to the team matters in these situations too. Then, there is Madison Bumgarner, a guy who is consistently good, then is great when it matters the most. Madison is a big game pitcher. He's a great pitcher at all times though, he's just greater when the pressure is on, and the lights are shining the brightest.
Born in a town full of German immigrants, where so many people share the otherwise rare surname that Madison Bumgarner has that the place was called 'Bumtown,' Bumgarner took things even further by dating a woman with the name, Madison Bumgarner. So at one point, Madison Bumgarner was dating Madison Bumgarner. They may have both been from the same town even, who knows.
So far as this article and my respect and appreciation of Madison Bumgarner the great left handed pitcher for the San Francisco Giants goes, I don't care if he's dating Mike Tyson, or Bruce Jenner. I'm here for the baseball, and that's what I'm here for exclusively. Madison Bumgarner delivers on the diamond, that's what matters here, and there.
6 feet and 5 inches tall, weighing 235 pounds. Madison Bumgarner has the body to pitch a lot of innings
Madison Bumgarner is a workhorse pitcher, who performs at the highest level when it counts the most
He was a very big body, does Mr. Bumgarner. he's six feet and five inches tall, and is filled out nicely at around 235 pounds. His body is the type that would allow a pitcher to throw 300 innings in a season, were the pitching staff and management to allow such a thing in these modern times. He's built to be a workhorse, and he is one. While Madison Bumgarner does strikeout a lot of batters, he is not a power pitcher in the traditional sense of the term. He doesn't reach the high 90s with his fastball so much, but then again, he doesn't much need to, either.
Baseball is a team sport, but it is also a game chock full of individual statistics so as to gauge an individual's contributions to the team. But the statistics also serve to judge an individual against other individuals on other teams, to see who is truly best. Madison Bumgarner puts up some terrific individual statistics for his team, and for the fans, but he's not quite as sexy, so to speak, in the realm of statistics as someone like Clayton Kershaw, or Chris Sale.
But ask Major League scouts who they would rather have pitching in the biggest and most important games. Would they pick Chris Sale over Madisom Bumgarner? Clayton Kershaw, maybe? I doubt it. You put Madison in for the important games over the more statistically sexy guys every time.
Madison Bumgarner hasn't yet entered into his athletic prime. Athletes are typically thought to be in their prime between the ages of 27 and 32. Bumgarner has already achieved a big long spanking list of accolades, and some of them outside the purview of Major League Baseball.
Major League Baseball, of course, is the sport where Madison performs so well, but it may be more impressive still when you win something like Male Athlete of the Year from the associated press, because they picked him over all male athletes in all sports on the planet. Another all encompassing big award Madison has somewhere or another in his home, is the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award.
Highlights from Madison Bumgarner's amazing 2014 season
Madison Bumgarner could hit 40 home runs in a season if he was in the batting order every day
With National League pitchers you always have to consider their hitting. Most of them can't hit much, and if they can hit for a .200 average you consider them to be outstanding hitters for being primarily a pitcher in the first place. People like Zack Greinke come to mind, and there are others too. Noah Syndergaard can hit a little, but then there is Madisom Bumgarner.
Greinke or Syndergaard could have probably made it to the big leagues in positions other than pitching. With Madison Bumgarner though, you're taking things to a much higher level. Bumgarner could be a full time hitter. He'd be a power hitter, even. He's a very large man, and he's honed his physique for pitching, but were he a hitter, he'd be Giancarlo Stanton, and I've no doubt about this.
In 2015 Bumgarner hit five home runs in just 77 official Major League at bats. You ramp those numbers up to 600 at bats, and you've got someone who's competing for the league leadership in home runs every season. Bumgarner's 2015 batting stats weren't a fluke either, in 2014 he hit 4 home runs in 66 at bats. When we talk about Mad Bum's hitting, we're talking about a guy who could hit 40 home runs, per his projections, were he only given the at bats to do so. He could literally retire from pitching and be a designated hitter in the American League. God, I love Prince Fielder, but I'd probably prefer Madisom Bumgarner batting DH for the Texas Rangers.
Big Madison Bumgarner's home run swing
2010 Bowman Baseball #206 Madison Bumgarner Rookie Card
Madison Bumgarner's assortment of pitches
So in addition to being a great pitcher, Mad Bum has won Babe Ruth awards, and Silver Slugger awards for pitchers. He's won the Silver Slugger twice, each of the past two seasons. For all intents and practical purposes he appears to be progressing as a hitter. One could easily see him going as a .300 hitter in a season, and were you to predict such a thing, you may make for a prophet of sorts.
But Madison Bumgarner is forever going to be thought of and recalled, in the annals of baseball history as a winning left handed pitcher, a dominate dude from the pitching rubber. So what does he throw, what does he got, what's his stuff?
Bumgarner is most similar in pitching style to Cole Hamels, who's moved now to the American League. Both are renowned for being very consistent left handed pitchers with similar stuff. Bumgarner has been more successful, but success on a team sport is somewhat more relevant in view from a team's success. Bumgarner has played for some terrific teams.
The biggest difference between Mad Bum and Hollywood Hamels is that Bumgarner has the superior cut fastball, and Hamels has the superior change of pace, or change-up. Bumgarner's cut fastball is fantastic, and he throws the pitch very very often, and the pitch moves sharply inward to right handed batters, much the same as a great slider will do, but without so much of the vertical dive. The Bumgarner cut fastball moves a great deal on the horizontal plane, and will literally saw into two pieces many a right handed hitter's batting wood. For the left handed batter, the pitch appears to be in the strike zone, and then it just isn't, and the hitter is left looking foolish for having swung at a pitch that lands outside the strike zone away from them.
Like Clayton Kershaw, and a huge number of other lesser pitchers, Bumgarner throws two different curve balls. One of these is faster than the other, and moves more downward, the other is much slower, and has a bigger vertical breaking action. He also throws a change-up, but one of his greatest strengths is his pitching motion itself, he's rather deceptive, or sufficiently unique with the pitching motion to confuse the eyes of Big League batters who're used to generic sorts of wind ups and deliveries.
A younger and shorter haired Madison Bumgarner
2010 Topps Baseball Card #105 Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants Rookie Card (RC) - Mint Condition - Shipped In Protective ScrewDown Display Case!
Madison Bumgarner makes his Major League debut at the young age of 20. He was born to be a pitcher
Mad Bum was born in North Carolina in 1989. He was quite good in High School, and this likely surprises no one. He helped the team to a state championship in 2007. He was good enough, and big enough to be drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the first round. It often doesn't matter how good your numbers are when you're a high school guy, what matters to scouts is how big you are, and how big they think you may become. Bumgarner has the physique that Major League scouts dream of finding and signing to a contract.
The did sign Madison, the scouts did, and right out of high school. He directly went to the minors and wasted no time in being an impressive athlete. He won the triple crown of pitching in his first year as a professional. After one season in the minors, he'd be in the Major Leagues with the San Francisco Giants, pitching in one of the most beautiful locations on the planet Earth.
Madison seemed to be born to be a pitcher, and if that was God's intent, then God is surely pleased with his Madison Bumgarner. God isn't the only entity pleased, us lowly humans are rather impressed too. From the start Madison shined, and he's not yet 27 years old.
In Major League Baseball the rosters expand in September, and in 2009 Madison was a very young man getting a taste of the Big League career that was to come. He was just 20 years old, and few of that young age get to participate on the biggest stage, facing the toughest competition, but Madison did. He exuded maturity, not just as a player, but as a man. His late season performance at 20 years of age was spectacular. He only pitched ten innings, but he struck out ten batters, and had a sparkling earned run average of 1.80.
Madison Bumgarner in the 2010 World Series against the Texas Rangers
McFarlane Toys San Francisco Giants Madison Bumgarner World Series Limited Edition Collector Box Action Figure
Dominating the post season, Madison Bumgarner
Though the 2010 season didn't start so well for Mad Bum, he wound up pitching in the World Series. Before any of that happened though, he became the youngest Giant's pitcher to pitch in a post season game, and also to win a post-season game. He was so good they brought him into an unusual position for him in the National League Championship Series, they brought him in as a reliever, but to Madison, it was just another opportunity, and he aced it.
I was on pins and needles over here for the 2010 World Series. My Texas Rangers had never gone anywhere near that far in baseball before, but there they were, against all odds, facing off against the Giants in the World Series. Madison Bumgarner shut my team down that year in the stiffest contest in the MLB. He became the 4th youngest guy to start and win a World Series game. Baseball is an old sport, in relation to the age of the nation, and to other major sports like football and basketball. Bumgarner is one for the ages. I hated seeing that guy, the one they call Mad Bum, looking all stoic, and still smiling, smothering my favorite team, but I admire him for it too, in the grudging sort of way you have to admire athletes who beat your favorites.
Life in Major League Baseball isn't all awards and accolades and winning, not even for someone like Mad Bum Bumgarner. He has struggled at times, as he is a man, a human being, not some android built to pitch baseballs at people trying to swat them with sticks. He struggled in 2011. The Giants weren't nearly so good as they'd been the previous season. Baseball is a team sport, so you can never give the pitcher all the glory when he wins, neither can you blame him all the time when he loses. Madison had a 500 winning percentage in 2011. The number means he lost as many times as he won. The truth of the matter was the team wasn't so good, Bumgarner would have won a lot more games had he been pitching for the Cardinals that year, but he's always been loyal to the Giants.
Who wouldn't be loyal to the Giants? They made Madison a rich man in 2012, but Bumgarner is still a very young man, yet to enter into his physical and athletic prime. While he's wealthy now, he will likely become significantly more so in the future. Madison would soldier on throughout the 2012 season, becoming ever the more established as the staff ace, and a Big League workhorse pitcher, someone to be counted upon.
Madison Bumgarner in 2012
Madison Bumgarner - consistently great
Madison Bumgarner appears to be improving with age. This isn't so unexpected. He started his Big League career very young. It won't last forever, the improving with aging thing. But he had his best earned run average ever, at the time, in 2013. He'd also improve in one of the newfangled ways they measure a pitcher in baseball - the WHIP. What is WHIP? Simple, it is walks plus hits per innings pitched. Basically, it is a measure of how many base-runners you allow per inning. This is important for all the obvious reasons, if someone never reaches base that someone can never score.
While not the typical sort of pitcher to be called a power pitcher, you may as well consider Mad Bum one, he strikes out a lot of batters, and continued to do so in 2013. He finished the year with 13 wins and 9 loses. This will give you a satisfying winning percentage, but it won't get you far into the National League Cy Young contest rankings. He'd pitched 200 innings for the 3rd straight year, and that is something to be admired in this day and age.
In 2014 and 2015 Madison Bumgarner improved to his highest win totals, and he recorded 18 wins in each of those two seasons. He increased his career highs in strikeouts in 2014, then did so again in 2015. While his earned run average has not been so great as it was in 2013, any starter posting an earned run average of less than 3 runs per game is competing for the Cy Young award. Alas for Mad Bum, the National League has terrific starting pitching.
Madison has pitched 5 straight seasons of more than 200 innings, and two straight of more than 200 strikeouts. The arc of his career is on the up and up, and who would dare to bet against Madison Bumgarner in 2016? Definitely not I, my friends, and you shouldn't either. Thanks for reading.