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Bumgarner’s Major League Debut

When the Giants announced they would skip Tim Lincecum start, the disappointment of not getting to see a potential back-to-back Cy Young pitcher in the heat of a Wild Card race, was tempered by the excitement of seeing his replacement, Madison Bumgarner, get the first Major League start of his career.

Coming into the season Bumgarner was widely consider one of the top ten prospects in the game. Since then no one can argue with the results, as he has gone 9-1 with a 1.93 ERA 19 year old in AA. But the way he got there has been a little disappointing, his strikeout rate has fallen to 5.8 per 9 and his walk rate risen to a still good 2.52 per 9 . So a tiniest bit of the top-prospect sheen has probably come off, still he was young for that level and no one disputes his enormous potential.

His start against the Padres went pretty well, 5.1 innings, four strikeouts, one walk and two runs given up on solo homers to Kevin Kouzmanoff and Chase Headley. It looks to me like Bumgarner threw 51 fastballs, six changeups and 19 of the breaking pitch he has been working on improving this year, which looks like a slider.

The pitchf/x system had his fastball in the high 80s and only breaking 90 mph twice. I think the system might have been a little ‘cold’ (there is some game to game variation in the pitch/fx readings), since he is reported to work in the low 90s and Kevin Correia‘s fastballs were clocked about one mph slower than his average.

Here are the locations of this his pitches to RHBs, with swung at pitches darkened, whiffs outlined in black and the two home runs outlined in red.
He kept the off-speed and breaking pitches down or away and got some whiffs on them. The fastball was in and around the zone, he has great control, and got a fair number of called strikes.

Over all an exciting and encouraging outing for a talented pitcher getting his first start in the majors just a month after his 20th birthday.