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What is the Fantasy Ceiling of Madison Bumgarner?


Since entering the league, Madison Bumgarner has been a force for the San Francisco Giants and fantasy owners alike. Not only has he been a force, but he’s generally shown steady improvement since his first Major League season in 2011. Showing improvement is great, but showing improvement when you’re starting from a nice point is even better.

Madison Bumgarner, 2011-2013

Season
IP
H
H/9
BB
BB/9
K
K/9
W-L
ERA
WHIP
2011204.2202
8.946
2.0191
8.413-133.211.212
2012208.1183
7.949
2.1191
8.316-113.371.114
2013201.1146
6.562
2.8199
8.913-92.771.033

The guy can pitch, but you already know that. Two questions come to mind here.

  1. What is his ceiling as a fantasy pitcher?
  2. What can fantasy owners expect in 2014?

His ceiling is pretty darn high.

The first thing to remember with any Giants pitcher is just how friendly AT&T Park is. You can get away with an awful lot there, especially if you force hitters to hit it towards right field. Bumgarner has never lacked for control and as a result, has had some pretty good success at his home park.

Madison Bumgarner, 2011-2013 (Home)

Season
IP
H
H/9
BB
BB/9
K
K/9
W-L
ERA
WHIP
2011104988.5242.11099.48-63.121.173
2012106847.1242.0988.310-32.381.019
201389616.2282.8939.44-42.331.00
Total2992437.3762.33009.022-132.621.067

You might hear people diminish the Giants pitchers because of how pitcher-friendly AT&T Park is, just like you might hear people downgrade Rockies hitters because of Coors Field. But keep in mind that no matter how much or little of an impact the home stadium has on the final numbers doesn’t matter. Why the numbers were achieved is irrelevant. In fantasy, it’s all about getting the numbers so if you can bank on great numbers in half of the starts, it’s only a good thing.

But, just what do Bumgarner’s away from San Francisco look like?

Madison Bumgarner, 2011-2013 (Road)

Season
IP
H
H/9
BB
BB/9
K
K/9
W-L
ERA
WHIP
2011100.21049.3222.0827.35-73.311.252
2012102.1998.7252.2938.26-84.401.212
2013112.1856.8342.71068.59-53.121.059
Total315.12888.2812.32818.020-203.601.17

One of those 2013 stats really impresses me, and it’s not the ERA. No, it’s the K/9. A great pitcher is one who can strike anyone out, but doesn’t have to to be effective. When you look at 2013, you see that Bumgarner actually struck hitters out at a higher rate in San Francisco. That doesn’t quite add up, as pitchers will tend to pitch to contact more in parks like that than they would in Colorado.

But you can see that in 2013, Bumgarner learned that even away from San Francisco, his stuff is good enough to get outs even after contact. Sure, he can strike people out when need be, but he also has the confidence to pitch over the plate and trust his stuff.

If he’s learning how to pitch better in other environments and still holding steady in San Francisco, then Bumgarner could very well turn into a guy who routinely has a 2.50 ERA/1.00 WHIP and if the Giants support him, could win about 20 games. Do not be surprised if he wins an NL Cy Young Award some time soon, even with the great Clayton Kershaw rivaling him. That’s his ceiling, but what about 2014?

We’ll start here

Madison Bumgarner: 2014 Projections

IP
BB
K
W
ERA
WHIP
20555194133.211.17

As good as those numbers are, I’d say that they’re pretty conservative. Tanner Bell did a great job detailing how we got our numbers, and you always have to lean conservative with projections, but I’m realistically expecting Madison Bumgarner to improve on what he did last year.

There aren’t many pitchers who can pound the strike zone but also strike guys out. When you factor in his home park and the fact that the NL West is not a particularly hitting-rich division,  Bumgarner has potential to be a Top-5 fantasy arm. Actually, by the end of the season, I’m predicting that’s exactly what he’ll be.

When I look at what Bumgarner will be, I see Cliff Lee. A lefty who throws strikes, deadens bats, and strikes guys out. There’s really nothing that he can’t do as a pitcher. As for 2014, this is where Bumgarner ranks as a fantasy arm heading into the draft. 

Where Bumgarner Ranks?

Guys I'd definitely take over him
Guys I'd probably take over him
Guys I may take over him
Clayton KershawAdam WainwrightFelix Hernandez
Cliff LeeYu DarvishMax Scherzer
Justin Verlander

That’s not a knock on Jose Fernandez, Stephen Strasburg, David Price, or any of the other top pitcher, but none of them combines everything the way Madison Bumgarner does. Like I said, you always want to be conservative with projections but realistically, I’m looking at a fantasy stat-line like this for Bumgarner in 2014:

Dixon's Madison Bumgarner Projections

IP
H
H/9
BB
BB/9
K
K/9
W-L
ERA
WHIP
2101596.8562.42008.617-82.611.024

Draft accordingly.

 

Tags: Madison Bumgarner MLB San Francisco Giants Starting Pitchers