Madison Bumgarner is still Madison Bumgarner
After an entire offseason of rumors regarding his future and pieces written about his decline, Madison Bumgarner saddled up and silenced some of his doubters with his Opening Day performance. Bumgarner pitched 7 strong innings, giving up only six baserunners and striking out 9. He really only made two mistakes the entire game, but both resulted in runs for the Padres.
The velocity was back to where it usually is in the 91-92 range, which is a welcome sign to Giants fans. After a rough spring (which most of the time, means nothing), Bumgarner turned in a quality start, and put the Giants in a great position to win the ballgame. With all the hype surrounding the new-look Padres, MadBum handled Manny Machado perfectly, striking him out twice. Furthermore, Bumgarner looked in command with most of his pitches and most notably, his changeup. He got at least three strikeouts with the changeup and it looked crisp.
Bumgarner’s curveball has recently become his number one strikeout pitch, but if he can further utilize his changeup effectively, that can totally change how hitters approach their at-bats against him. Of course, a Bumgarner resurgence is a double-edged sword, with him being the Giants best trade chip. However, given teams recent activities regarding extensions, the Giants could potentially lock up MadBum long term at a relative discount given his recent history. Would you rather have two no-sure-thing prospects or a 30 to 34-year-old Madison Bumgarner? I think the correct answer is the latter.