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San Francisco Giants: The good and the bad of Madison Bumgarner

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 04: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field on June 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 04: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field on June 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /
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Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants
OAKLAND, CA – JULY 21: Manager Bruce Bochy #15 of the San Francisco Giants takes the ball from starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner #40 taking him out of the game against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the fifth inning at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 21, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Bad

Madison Bumgarner has been hit hard this season. There’s no way around it. According to Baseball Savant, when hitters have put the ball in play against him, they are hitting the ball harder than they ever have before.

Since they started recording batted-ball data in 2015, the percentage of hard-hit contact that Bumgarner has allowed has slowly climbed each season. It has spiked to 42.4% this season, though.

Likewise, his opponent’s exit velocity and barrel percentage have also spiked to career-high levels, and both sit well above league average, which is less than ideal.

Grant Brisbee of The Athletic dove into Bumgarner’s most recent outing and pointed to some spotty command. He’s never had overpowering stuff which gives him a small margin for error. Ever since his dirt bike accident in 2016, he just hasn’t been able to regain that precision.

The fact is, his ERA is 4.28, his FIP is 4.20, and his xFIP is 4.14. He’s been worth 1 WAR so far this season and all of that is… fine. It paints him as a serviceable No. 3 or 4 starter, but that’s not what the Giants are trying to sell.

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