After he didn’t put his best foot forward during his most recent start, what do the numbers say about San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner?
We at Around the Foghorn, along with most who follow the San Francisco Giants, have spent a lot of time talking about the trade market for Madison Bumgarner. We’ve even built hypothetical trade packages to send him to teams all over the country, including the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Yankees.
Bumgarner’s name has swirled on the rumor mill ever since the Giants first became buried at the bottom of the NL West standings. However, since 2016, he has been marred with multiple injuries and just hasn’t been as effective.
As recently as last week it looked like the Twins were nearing a deal to acquire Bumgarner, but things quelled quickly and Bumgarner is still in a Giants uniform.
Aaron Gleeman of Baseball Prospectus made one very valid point to Twins fans:
As much as Giants fans might not want to admit it, Bumgarner is a mid-rotation starter at this point in his career with a minimal chance to regain his old form. How close Bumgarner is to taking another step will have a big impact on his trade value.
The Giants will make the argument that Bumgarner is most comparable to Yu Darvish in 2017. Darvish was a 30-year old rental who had pitched like an ace in the past, but after dealing with injuries hadn’t been the same. With the Texas Rangers, he had a 4.01 ERA over 22 starts before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on the eve of the trade deadline.
At the time, Darvish had a career-low strikeout rate, career-high home run rate, and a higher walk rate than in years past. Still, the Dodgers surrendered three prospects—one leaguewide top 100 prospect in Willie Calhoun and a pair of top 30 prospects in the Dodgers system at the time.
Darvish finished the season strong with the Dodgers and while they didn’t win the title, it still doesn’t look like an overpay.
However, teams aren’t looking at trading for 2017 Yu Darvish, they’re looking at 29-year old Madison Bumgarner. The 2014 World Series MVP has shown some incredible highs over his career, but how close can he come to reaching those heights again?
Let’s take a closer look.