Free Agent Faceoff: Madison Bumgarner Is Not Who You Think He Is Edition
Image courtesy of © Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY SportsBumgarner’s pedigree in the postseason is undisputed, but he hasn’t appeared in a playoff game since 2016. That was the same season ByungHo Park was on the Twins. Doesn’t that feel like forever ago?
If you want to cling to MadBum’s October heroics, there’s probably no convincing you that he’s not The Guy. For those of you willing to look past that, I’ve picked two free agents to compare Bumgarner to.
As a two-time All-Star, Julio Teheran has some name recognition, but I still sense Twins fans would view him as a consolation prize on this year’s market. Homer Bailey also has some name recognition, but not for good reasons. He’s been my favorite example to use this offseason, mainly because the common knee-jerk reaction to him is “ew, gross.” I’d imagine Twins fans would see him a Terry Ryan-era dumpster dive type signing.
Let’s take a look at some of the 2019 numbers.
ERA- (which is league and park adjusted)
Slash line against
.245/.291/.426 (.717 OPS) Bumgarner
.229/.328/.389 (.717 OPS) Teheran
.256/.316/.403 (.719 OPS) Bailey
Those numbers alone build a fair case to consider these three pitchers to be of a similar class, but Bumgarner absolutely destroyed the pitchers he faced in 2019. Check out what happens when we take them out of the equation.
Slash line vs. non-pitchers
.256/.315/.404 (.719 OPS) Bailey
.225/.327/.393 (.720 OPS) Teheran
.262/.309/.455 (.764 OPS) Bumgarner
K% vs. non-pitchers
Next, let’s run through some metrics that measure quality of contact.
Hard hit % (95+ mph)
Barrels/PA % (barrel = 98+ mph exit velo, 26-30 degree launch)
And here’s a fun little exercise I’ve been toying around with. Below is an illustration of every home run hit at Target Field (the bright green dots) and all the batted balls surrendered by these three pitches overlaid atop the dimensions of Target Field. First is Bumgarner, then Teheran followed by Bailey.
This isn’t exactly a scientific way to look at the batted ball data, as it’s not like these pitchers would make all their starts at Target Field, but I thought it was an interesting way to present some of the batted ball info.
But, but, but … Bumgarner was certainly better under pressure, right? Well …
Clutch (per FanGraphs)
Slash against in two outs, RISP situations
.200/.286/.340 (.626) Bailey
.231/.326/.359 (.685) Teheran
.319/.397/.478 (.875) Bumgarner
MLB Trade Rumors predicted Bumgarner would get a four-year, $72 million deal and Teheran would get two years and $18 million. Bailey did not crack their top 50 list, but Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs had him pegged for a one-year, $7 million contract.
Given their 2019 performances, the only reason I can see why there’s such a dramatic difference in their perceived market value is due to Bumgarner’s legacy. Remind me again, how many actual wins is that worth?
For a more positive outlook on Bumgarner, check out Patrick Wozniak’s recent article here at Twins Daily.
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