Answering your questions

Hey all. I got this email from a prospect fan recently and I figured it’d be a good opportunity to try and resurrect the ol’ B3 Mailbag. So you can ask questions in comments or email them to me directly and I’ll try to answer some on a semi-regular basis. So this query came from Larry in Ontario:

Curious what the Giants’ strategy is with Madison Bumgarner. They seem to monitor his innings like a hawk. Are there injury concerns there or are they just being careful? Also, you had him ranked at 6 coming into this year, do you see him rising or falling going into 2010? Finally, ETA to the majors?

Without checking officially with the Giants, I’m sure they are just following their usual philosophy regarding young pitchers. For instance, he and Tim Alderson are more or less in the same place in terms of innings pitched (it’s actually a pitch count thing more than an innings thing, but I digress). There’s no injury concerns. Keep in mind that Bumgarner is still just 19 and they’ve challenged him by pushing him to Double-A already. Sure, we could have a debate over Minor League pitchers being coddled too much pitch-count wise in the Minors, so they’re not able to go deep into games as big-leaguers, but that’s not the point right now. He’s so far ahead of the curve, the Giants just want to make sure he doesn’t over-do it. The advanced level is enough. The more efficent he can be, the deeper into games he’ll go and the innings will climb. That being said, he threw over 140 innings in the regular season last year and is on pace to get to at least there this year, so he’s right where he should be.

As for the rankings, obviously it depends on the response of scouts I’ll poll, but I have to think that his performance at higher levels — a year after being MiLB’s Most Spectacular Pitcher for leading the Minors in ERA,  he’s 10th overall with a 1.88 ERA — and his age, combined with guys ahead of him graduating to the big leagues will mean Bumgarner will move up a few spots in next year’s rankings. Assuming he finishes the year in Double-A and does well, I think it’s definitely possible for him to be in San Francisco at some point in 2010.

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