Results tagged ‘ Madison Bumgarner ’

Pitchers of the Year

When I was in middle school, I had a math teacher who would end each class by saying, “See you tomorrow.” When it got to Friday, we pointed out that tomorrow would actually be the weekend and then would say, “No, I mean mathematical tomorrow.” He meant, of course, the next time we’d have math with him, which was Monday.

I point this out to you not to show you how fun a teacher Mr. Morris was, but as a means to explain what I’ve meant when I’ve said, “I’ll discuss Pitcher of the Year candidates tomorrow.” Clearly, I meant mathematical tomorrow.

So, here we are and I’m finally ready. And, ironically, I’ve used some math (sort of) to try and come up with the best candidates. Let me take a minute to explain my crude methodology: I started with a list of 30 of the best Minor Legue pitchers for the 2009 season. I then ranked them according to a number of statistical categories (my thanks to those who helped figure out the best ones to use — you know who you are). In the end, I used:

ERA, batting average against, K/BB, WHIP and HR rate (HR/9).  If a pitcher finished first in a category, he got one point, second place got two points and on down to 30. Obviously, the pitchers with the lower overall ratings were “better.”

Before all you true stats hounds chime in, I understand this is less than perfect. It doesn’t take level or league into account, it doesn’t look at home park factors or anything about the defense playing behind the pitcher. It doesn’t look at age according to level, either. In the end, though, picking a pitcher (or player) of the year is a little subjective and any statistical arguments you’re going to make will be somewhat arbitrary.

I’ll also note that there are no relievers considered on this list. Maybe that’s a bias of mine, but for whatever reason we’ll keep this to starters. I’m going to list them in order of my ranking. Here goes nothing.

1. Daniel Hudson, RHP, Chicago White Sox
Rating:  222
9th in ERA (2.32), 2nd in BAA (.200), 3rd in K/BB (4.88), 1st in WHIP (0.94), 7th in HR Rate (0.31)
He’s the only pitcher to finish in the top 10 in all five categories. The fact he did it across four levels certainly doesn’t hurt his case.

2. Bradley Meyers, RHP, Washington Nationals
1st in ERA (1.72), 19th in BAA (.223), 12th in K/BB (3.38), 6th in WHIP (1.05), 3rd in HR Rate (0.20)

3. Travis Wood, LHP, Cincinnati Reds
2nd in ERA (1.77), 3rd in BAA (.204), 23rd in K/BB (2.55), 4th in WHIP (1.04), 11th in HR rate (0.32)

4. Rudy Owens, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
4th in ERA (2.10), 16th in BAA (.219), 1st in K/BB (6.55), 2nd in WHIP (0.94), 26th in HR rate (0.80)

5. Zach McAllister, RHP, New York Yankees
7th in ERA (2.23), 17th in BAA (.220), 17th in K/BB (2.91), 9th in WHIP (1.08), 6th in HR rate (0.30)

6. Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Francisco Giants
3rd in ERA (1.85), 15th in BAA (.217), 21st in K/BB (2.71), 3rd in WHIP (1.02), 15th in HR rate (0.41)

The rest of the top 10:

7. Christian Friedrich, LHP, Rockies — 60
8. Evan Anundsen, RHP, Brewers — 60
9. Brett Lorin, RHP, Pirates — 60
10. Steve Hirschfeld, RHP, Twins — 61

Are these the only 10 pitchers worth talking about for this? Maybe not. This is by no means perfect — Anundsen and Hirschfeld, for instance, are largely creations of the pitching-friendly Florida State League. Do Owens and McAllister  belong in the top 5? Should Bumgarner be higher? It’s all food for thought and hopefully will stir up some debate. That being said — and again, this is only my opinion — you’re going to have a hard time convincing me Daniel Hudson is not the Pitcher of the Year. 

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.

Scouting the Top 50: 9-5

Getting down to the good stuff here, into single digits…

9. Neftali Feliz, RHP, Rangers
neftali_feliz.jpgSeen: June (Midwest League)

Fastball: 93-99 mph
Curveball: 74-82 mph
Slider: 86-88 mph
Changeup: 82-87 mph

Plus arm speed helps him throw 96 mph consistently. Throws strikes with fastball, sometimes gets too much of plate. Breaking pitches are developing, didn’t throw them with confidence in this outing. Changeup is outstanding, falls of table. Small mechanical flaw when he flies open and shows the ball too soon. Can be corrected. Franchise-type arm with plenty in there for starting role.

8. Alcides Escobar, SS, Brewers
alcides_escobar.jpgSeen: May (Southern League)

Good understanding of strike zone, battler at the plate, a tough out. More strength to come than you’d think as he matures. Glove will get him there, sets him apart. Easy arm strength with plus accuracy. Good reads in field, gets in position. Future major contributor as every-day shortstop in Major Leagues.

7. Travis Snider, OF, Blue Jays
travis_snider.jpgSeen: June (Eastern League)

Thick frame, but surprising agility and quickness for his size. Bat with plenty of pull power. Begins and remains open. Very patient at plate, waits for strike. Upper-cut on swing, swings hard. Makes consistent hard contact with home run pop. Steady in outfield, with decent jumps and routes. Profiles as Major League power bat.

6. Madison Bumgarner, LHP, Giants
madison_bumgarner.jpgSeen: May (South Atlantic League)

Fastball: 89-94 mph
Slider: 77-82 mph
Changeup: 77-78 mph

Fastball consistently 91-93 mph with tail. Can cut it as additional weapon. Good location, not afraid to go upstairs with it. Smooth delivery, fastball gets on hitter in a hurry. Slider is hard and down, almost a  power curve action to it. Didn’t need changeup much, it’s a work in progress. Some small mechanical flaws, but nothing major to worry about.

5. Cameron Maybin, OF, Marlins
cameron_maybin.jpgSeen: May (Southern League)

Lengthy approach when making contact. Very strong wrists, shows power to all fields. Aggressive looking for fastballs, prone to chasing and pullling off contact. Will have to adjust to reach potential. Gets out of box quickly. Effortless in outfield. Regular, every-day center fielder in future.

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