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San Francisco Giants: Assessing Bumgarner’s “Injury History”

Nick San Miguel
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 28: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on August 28, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 28: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on August 28, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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We all know that big left-handed ace of the San Francisco Giants, Madison Bumgarner, has missed some time the last few years due to injury.

Is this something that the San Francisco Giants should be concerned about when considering signing Madison Bumgarner long-term or when trying to shop him in a trade?

In my opinion, no. But that’s not going to stop other teams claiming that Bumgarner has “injury troubles” so they don’t have to give up as much in a trade to acquire him.

Let’s look at the injuries which sidelined him the past two years. We’re all familiar with the dirt bike incident in 2017, which sidelined him for several months. As far as I know, he hasn’t had any dirt bike troubles since then and it doesn’t appear that his shoulder has given him trouble since he came back from that injury.

A common theory that I’ve read is that the dirt bike incident is the reason we’ve seen a dip in
Bumgarner’s velocity. I think this logic is flawed.

His average velocity for his fastball the last two years is 91.4 MPH, down from his career high of 93 MPH in 2015.

When Tim Lincecum was 29, in 2013, his average fastball velocity stood at 91.4 MPH as well. I think Bumgarner’s velocity dip is more a result of age than of the effects of the dirt bike fiasco.

Now how about the other injury? In his last Spring Training appearance of 2018 a line drive came back and hit him in the pitching hand, breaking it and again sidelining him for several months.

Again, another freak injury. It would be different if Bumgarner had shoulder troubles just by nature of pitching a lot — then that would be cause for concern.

But Bumgarner is a workhorse, and he’s a pretty darn good pitcher.

His stuff might not be as great as it was in the past but the truly great pitchers are able to alter their approach as they age, maybe by finding a new pitch or relying more on off-speed stuff, which seems to be what Bumgarner is doing.

Next. San Francisco Giants: A Reunion with Andrew McCutchen Could Work

So don’t let anyone fool you when they say Bumgarner has a “injury history”. As far as I know he’s never missed an extended period of time for anything other than a freak thing, so let’s hope that 2019 doesn’t result in another freak injury for the big lefty.

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