What Version of Madison Bumgarner Would the Twins Be Getting?
Image courtesy of © Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY SportsVintage Bumgarner
From 2011 through 2016, Bumgarner was one of the best pitchers in baseball and he was a workhorse for the Giants on the way to multiple World Series titles. He was a four-time All-Star and a two-time Silver Slugger along with winning the NLCS MVP and the World Series MVP. He finished in the top-10 in the Cy Young voting for four straight seasons and two of those seasons saw him in the top-5.
Statistically speaking, he averaged over 210 innings per season with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. He averaged 9.1 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 along with a 121 ERA+ and a 3.07 FIP. According to FanGraphs, he had the ninth highest WAR total among pitchers placing him just behind Chris Sale, Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke. Baseball Reference ranked him in the top-10 among pitcher WAR in 2015 and 2016.
He was on top of the baseball world, but he’s hasn’t looked like the same pitcher in recent years.
Since 2016, Bumgarner missed time due to injury and he certainly hasn’t been the workhorse he was in the first half of the decade. After averaging over 200 innings per season for six straight years, he has been limited to under 130 innings in 2017 and 2018. Last season, he suffered a broken hand after being hit by a line drive. Back in 2017, he missed time with a Grade 2 sprain of the AC join in his throwing shoulder and bruised ribs. He had a dirt bike accident that year that were the root of his problems.
This season, his ERA is almost 80 points higher than his career mark, but his 1.17 WHIP and his 8.7 K/9 are right in line with his career totals. Batters are barreling up the ball against him at an all-time high. He is allowing a 9.4 Barrel % (6.3 % MLB Average) and an 89.7 Exit Velocity (87.4 MLB Average). His fastball velocity is in the 11th percentile but his fastball spin ranks in the 85th percentile. Also, his curve spin is in the 71st percentile.
Is Bumgarner an Upgrade?
Jose Berrios is coming off his best start of the season and Jake Odorizzi is near the top of the league in ERA. At this point, these two players would be locks for Minnesota’s post-season rotation. Kyle Gibson would be the third pitcher at this point, and he has put up similar numbers to Bumgarner so far this year. They are within 17 points of each other in ERA, FIP, and ERA+. Gibson is striking out more batters and walking fewer batters per nine innings than Bumgarner.
Michael Pineda has been a little bit of a roller coaster ride but his fastball is playing better since he came back from the disabled list. While Pineda has been performing better, Martin Perez has struggled in recent starts. Perez looked like a Cy Young candidate in his first eight starts with a 2.17 ERA and he held opponents to a .644 OPS. Over his last four starts, he has allowed 16 earned runs in 19 innings (7.58 ERA) and batters are getting on base 36% of the time against him.
Looking at the Twins current roster, Bumgarner might be the fourth best pitcher in the Twins rotation. His playoff experience could certainly help, but what version of Bumgarner would the Twins be getting in a trade? Will they get vintage Bumgarner or some version of the player from the last three seasons?
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