© Sergio Estrada | 2019 Jun 15
Over the course of his 11 seasons in San Fransisco, Madison Bumgarner has rarely given the Giants and their fans a reason to be concerned. Bumgarner has been a workhorse for the Giants, amassing more than 1,735 innings for them, and those innings have been full of heart, vigor, snot rockets, and beautiful pitching.
Yet as it appears his time in San Francisco is coming to a close, teams across the league are apparently “concerned” about a troubling trend when discussing the idea of trading for the longtime ace.
Longtime Giants beat writer Henry Schulman called into the Gary & Larry show on Monday to discuss just what those are.
“The issue about Bumgarner has been not that he has…the velocity is there, like you said the ERA is down, but I think what teams are concerned about right now is the fly ball right and launch angle, which is a big deal nowadays,” Schulman said. “Ten years ago, we wouldn’t even be talking about this and all the GMs would say ‘well we want to get this guy on because of his grit and his October experience,’ but now let’s say you’re the Phillies and play in a severe hitters park, and a lot of those fly balls that he gives up at Dodger Stadium and Oracle Park, well those are out of the yard.
“So I think teams are going to have to factor that into the equation and I think that it would be more likely that a team that plays in a fairer or bigger ballpark might be willing to give up more for a guy like Bumgarner.”
Throughout his entire career, Bumgarner has has a HR/9 rate on par with the average rate in MLB (per Baseball-Reference) and has done so while making half of his starts in the pitcher’s paradise that is Oracle Park. His career HR/9 rate is 0.9, and the MLB average since his debut in 2009 is 0.97, so a new ballpark could potentially impact his effectiveness.
Schulman continued, “I mean it could be any of those teams, but if he goes to Yankee Stadium and gives up some of the fly balls that he gives up at home he’s gonna get crushed.”
Though with Bumgarner, sometimes traditional statistics don’t do him justice, and Schulman explained how a change of scenery could benefit him and the team that lands him.
“I do think there’s something to taking a guy like Bumgarner, who is a winner, and taking him out of this environment and putting him in a pennant race where he’s gonna be a different pitcher,” said Schulman.
Bumgarner is under contract with the San Francisco Giants through the end of the 2019 season, and will be a free agent
Listen to the full interview with Henry Schulman below. To hear him discuss Madison Bumgarner, start from 8:40.