- Full name Madison Kyle Bumgarner
- Born 08/01/1989 in Hickory, NC
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 240 / Bats: R / Throws: L
- School South Caldwell
- Debut 09/08/2009
Drafted in the 1st round (10th overall) by the San Francisco Giants in 2007 (signed for $2,000,000).
View Draft ReportIn terms of physical features, arm slot and velocity, Bumgarner could be considered a lefthanded version of Phillippe Aumont. He pitches with less effort and has better fastball command than his Canadian counterpart. But the knock on Bumgarner is the lack of a true secondary pitch. He pitches off his best weapon, a 92-94 mph fastball that has been up to 97 this spring. It has late life and finish. He has tried multiple grips and shapes with his breaking ball, and at times has flashed a fringe-average pitch that has tilt and late snap at 81 mph. Like Aumont, Bumgarner throws from a low three-quarters release point, which he doesn't repeat well, and that makes achieving downward action on his breaking ball difficult. His changeup is a below-average pitch that should improve when and if he throws it more often. Because of his size, athleticism and velocity, Bumgarner is a surefire first-rounder. The club that believes he can come up with a true breaking ball down the line could pop him as early as 10th or 11th overall.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Bumgarner ranked third in the minors with a 1.85 ERA last season after leading the minors with a 1.46 mark in 2008. Nevertheless, his heady stock dipped slightly as his velocity waned. The 10th overall pick in 2007, he signed for $2 million. At his best, Bumgarner shows a mid-90s fastball, a slider with good tilt and an average changeup. His heater has late giddy-up and he has advanced command of it. His easy, three-quarters delivery adds deception. He works the ladder, loves to throw upstairs and gets the ball inside against lefties and righties alike. He's an ornery competitor in the mold of Kevin Brown, and when the Giants needed him to make his major league debut on an hour's notice, he showed zero fear. He's a good athlete who helps himself with the bat. Bumgarner pitched at 88-90 mph for most of the second half of last season. A perfectionist, he may have lost velocity because he threw too much on the side. His slider still isn't a finished product and his changeup isn't entirely trustworthy. He defaults to his fastball when he gets in jams. He must learn to control his emotions and trust his catcher. Bumgarner has No. 1 starter potential, and his stuff would play against big leaguers now. He's just 20, so they'd prefer to let him work in Triple-A to start 2010.
Surprise, surprise. For the 13th time in 14 years, the Giants' top prospect is a pitcher. Though teenage slugger Angel Villalona did nothing to diminish his No. 1 status of a year ago, his teammate at low Class A Augusta couldn't be denied. After drafting him 10th overall and signing him for $2 million in 2007, the Giants merely hoped Bumgarner would learn to compete and master simple skills in his first full pro season. Early efforts to smooth out his mechanics were a failure, as he allowed 10 runs over 11 2/3 innings in his first three starts. Then the big, strong lefthander went back to his high school delivery and was untouchable, posting a 0.90 ERA in his final 21 regular season outings before allowing just one unearned run in two playoff starts as the GreenJackets won the South Atlantic League title. Bumgarner's overall 1.46 ERA was the lowest in the minors, and he struck out an unreal 7.8 batters for every walk. There may not be a lefthander with a better fastball than Bumgarner's. He hits 97 mph with minimal effort, consistently pitches at 93-94 and hitters have trouble picking up his heater from his high three-quarters delivery. His fastball has boring action and is a devastating two-strike pitch when he elevates it. He gave up just three homers all season, as his command and control were impeccable. "He has another gear," catcher Jackson Williams said. "He's so long and so loose, the ball just pops--and it pops hard." His breaking ball and changeup showed improvement throughout 2008. Bumgarner, who's from a small town in North Carolina, initially came across as a timid kid when he first reported to instructional league in 2007. But he soon dispelled any concerns about his makeup. "The closer to home plate they get, the more he reaches back and goes after them," Augusta pitching coach Ross Grimsley said. "For 19, he's a very mature, smart kid. He knows he's got some things to work on to make himself a more complete pitcher and not just a thrower." Bumgarner is a physical, durable beast and a good athlete who also makes hard contact as a righthanded hitter. While Bumgarner's fastball control far exceeded San Francisco's wildest expectations, his secondary pitches remain a work in progress. Coaches worked to replace an erratic curveball with something closer to a true slider that developed depth the more he threw it. He didn't get much practice setting up hitters because his fastball was nearly unhittable. He often threw his changeup in fastball counts just to work on it. "That'll be the biggest thing," Grimsley said. "He'll need the changeup for the higher levels and he understands that." Bumgarner has all the gifts to be a No. 1 starter, though it's hard to imagine anyone unseating Tim Lincecum in San Francisco in the foreseeable future. The Giants hope to instill a friendly rivalry between Bumgarner and their other first-round prep pitcher from the 2007 draft, Tim Alderson. They're expected to form a supremely talented 1-2 punch at Double-A Connecticut, potentially with 2008 first-rounder Buster Posey as their catcher. If Bumgarner continues to easily dispatch hitters after skipping a level, San Francisco will be tempted to give him a taste of the big leagues in September.
The hardest-throwing high school lefthander in the 2007 draft, Bumgarner also was a fine righthanded hitter who helped South Caldwell High win two North Carolina 4-A state championships. He became the first prep southpaw drafted in the first round by the Giants since Mike Remlinger in 1987. The 10th overall pick, Bumgarner signed for $2 million. Bumgarner has everything the Giants look for in a pitching prospect--size, athleticism and velocity. His fastball works at 92-94 mph and hits 97 on occasion. It has good, boring action and often runs in on the hands of righthanders. A tremendous athlete, he showed flashes of dominance in instructional league. Bumgarner went higher in the draft but grades below Tim Alderson because his command and breaking ball aren't nearly as good. When Bumgarner stays on top of the pitch, it's a hard slurve that sweeps away from lefthanders. His changeup is in the experimental stages and he throws it too hard, but should be a useful pitch in time. Coming from rural western North Carolina, Bumgarner had a tougher task acclimating to Arizona and his first pro experience. While he might not move as quickly as Alderson, Bumgarner has a higher ceiling. He figures to make his pro debut in low Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Bumgarner went into spring training with a chance to open the year as San Francisco's No. 5 starter, but he bombed in three Cactus League appearances and was sent down. His velocity dipped in 2009 and hadn't yet recovered, with his fastball sitting in the upper 80s. His turnaround began when the Giants discovered he was throwing across his body and not getting enough acceleration out front in his delivery. Once Bumgarner got his mechanical issues straightened out, his fastball climbed back into the low 90s, topping out at 93 mph with a little tailing and sinking action. His command of both his fastball and his hard, biting slider is outstanding. He also throws an average changeup with some fade, but his biggest asset may be his mound savvy. "When I look at his stuff, it's the stuff of a No. 4 in the rotation lefthander," a second NL scout said. "But that guy knows how to pitch and he competes his butt off. He throws strikes and he's 21 years old. I don't ever see him being a great stuff guy. He just really knows how to pitch. He's committed to throwing strikes and sets up his pitches."
Bumgarner pitched most of the season as a 19-year-old who dominated the Eastern League primarily with one pitch. His fastball was the subject of much speculation late in the year, when he earned a big league promotion and sat in the upper 80s with his fastball. Scouts who had seen him as an amateur thought he'd lost a bit of arm and hand speed since high school. Scouts and managers agree that Bumgarner's velocity started above-average, in the 90-94 mph range, before settling in at 88-92 mph and then dipping even lower, at times into the mid-80s, by August. Bumgarner's secondary pitches don't inspire awe, either, as he gets on the side of his slider and doesn't have a great feel for his changeup, which he throws infrequently. That said, his fastball earns plenty of praise. He has above-average command of the pitch, which has late life due in part to a cross-body delivery that creates deception. "He has presence, poise and late life that you can't teach," a scout with an American League organization said. Another AL scout added, "It's still a 60 fastball because of that life, angle and command, and I think he'll still be 93-94 on his best days."
The league's youngest starting pitcher as well as its pitcher of the year, Bumgarner was the first name mentioned by every manager who saw him, and for good reason. After struggling with his revamped mechanics early in the season and surrendering 10 earned runs in his first 11 2/3 innings, the 10th overall pick from the 2007 draft returned to his high school delivery and didn't allow an earned run in his next four starts. Not only did he lead the minors in ERA, but he also won his both playoff starts while permitting just one unearned run in 14 innings. "He's the most advanced pitcher I have ever seen at his age," Augusta manager Andy Skeels said. "His makeup is impressive, and he has every physical tool you could hope to have. He's the real deal, a true No. 1 starter at the major league level." Bumgarner works with a fastball that sits at 94-95 mph and an ever-improving breaking ball and changeup. He pounds both sides of the plate and changes the batter's eye level with his ability to hit his spots with precision. He challenges hitters and exhibits a killer instinct on the mound. "The way the ball comes out of his hand is incredible," Lexington manager Gregg Langbehn said. "We saw him early in the season and then late in the year. The second time, it wasn't much of a contest. He absolutely dominated us, especially with his ability to command his pitches on the inside part of the plate."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Pickoff Move in the National League in 2014
- Rated Best Pitching Prospect in the Pacific Coast League in 2010
- Rated Best Control in the San Francisco Giants in 2010
- Rated Best Pitching Prospect in the California League in 2009
- Rated Best Control in the San Francisco Giants in 2009
- Rated Best Fastball in the San Francisco Giants in 2009
- Rated Best Pitching Prospect in the South Atlantic League in 2008
- Rated Best Control in the South Atlantic League in 2008