SF Giants Retrospective: Re-Ranking The Top Ten 2010 Prospects
By Marc Delucchi
SF Giants Top 10 Prospects In 2010
#2 Madison Bumgarner, LHP
2010 Baseball America Rank: 2
Career WAR: 30.7
WAR Per 30 Starts: 3.09
From 2010-2012 Bumgarner was a strong 60 grade player before his peak from 2013-2016 that deserves a 70 grade. However, his final three years in San Francisco were more in line with a 50-grade mid-rotation starter than the ace he had been. After a disastrous 2020 season, his career seems on a sharp downward trajectory.
Permanently joining the Giants rotation in 2010, Bumgarner was overshadowed by Posey’s rookie heroics but played a pivotal role in the dynasty’s first title run as well. Prior to Bumgarner’s promotion, Todd Wellemeyer and Barry Zito made up 40% of the Giants rotation. Even with a condensed postseason rotation, the staff would have struggled to carry the team as far without Bumgarner.
His postseason dominance is unparalleled in the era but may overshadow his strong regular-season resume. From 2010-2019, Bumgarner ranks tenth in innings pitched. While he is clearly a tier below starters like Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, and Max Scherzer, Bumgarner belongs in the next tier of starters like David Price, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Jon Lester, Felix Hernandez, and Gio Gonzalez. Interestingly, of the players in that group, Bumgarner is the only member of that group without big-league success before 2010 or in a strong position to continue performing into the 2020s.
He lacks the prolonged peak of Giants legend Juan Marichal, but Bumgarner filled a similar role in his era. At his peak, Marichal was overshadowed by legends like Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax but was consistently one of the best starting pitchers in the league. Both Bumgarner and Marichal were some of the best innings eaters of their eras and consistently posted strong ERA without strikeout numbers that stood out. Instead, both relied on deceptive deliveries and strong command to limit the damage. Still, neither has ever finished in the top three in Cy Young voting even with their success.
After signing a five-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks last offseason, he will have plenty of opportunities to rekindle some of his old form. If this is it, though, he’s still had an exceptional career with plenty of memorable moments.