Saturday, June 26, 2010

Madison Bumgarner Called Up

Joe Martinez can't be too happy about this news. As first reported by Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, Madison Bumgarner is being called up to start Saturday's game against the Red Sox. The move is a little surprising, only because I expected Joe Martinez to get more of a shot to claim the 5th starter's spot. In his one start against the Orioles Martinez wasn't great but he wasn't terrible either. It could just be that the Giants think Bumgarner is ready to contribute and Martinez wasn't going to be a long-term solution. Either way, it's pretty exciting news.

After Buster Posey was called up to the majors, Bumgarner was the best prospect left in our farm system. In fact, as recently as the beginning of last year, Bumgarner was seen as perhaps the best pitching prospect in all of baseball. In 2008 he absolutely dominated hitters in A-ball going 15-3 with a 1.46 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 141.2 innings. His dominance continued into 2009, but when he was promoted to AA he went through some struggles. He was still having success and even pitched well during a short stint in the majors, but towards the end of the season his velocity started to drop. His fastball had normally been anywhere from 92-95 MPH, but all of a sudden it was topping out at 88 MPH. No one really knew what was wrong but the struggles continued into this season. He had a terrible spring training and his velocity was still way down at the beginning of the season in AAA. But as of late, he has found what made him so successful in the first place. His velocity is back up around 92 MPH, and even though his strikeout numbers are down he has been very effective with a 3.16 ERA in Fresno.

I assume the Giants are taking the same route with Bumgarner as they did with Posey; that is, they didn't want to call him up until he was going to be here to stay. Bumgarner is still considered one of the best pitching prospects in the minors and his promotion should immediately strengthen what is already a terrific pitching staff. And hey, barring any injury, Wellemeyer won't be starting anytime soon, which is always good news. Get excited people, the Madison Bumgarner era has officially begun.

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