Coming into the season, Madison Bumgarner was regarded as one of fantasy baseball's top arms and he once again lived up to expectations. The wood-chopping lefty posted a career-best ERA over a career-high 226.2 innings. He has defied the critics who thought he would break down after throwing 270 combined regular and postseason innings in 2014. Bumgarner just keeps adding to his regular-season innings total year-over-year while increasing his strikeout rate (to a career-high 10.0 K/9 in 2016). While his demeanor is that of a seasoned veteran, the Giants' ace will be just 27 years old entering the 2017 season, leaving the scary possibility that he could take yet another step forward.
Bumgarner tossed six innings of shutout ball Wednesday, allowing just one hit and striking out three against the Angels. The Giants' ace was only scheduled to go four or five innings Wednesday, but he made such quick work of the Angels that he was allowed go a full six frames. Bumgarner -- who isn't known for stellar spring numbers (3.98 ERA) -- has posted a 2.81 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 16 Cactus League innings. He appears to be in midseason form and is about as safe as a No. 1 fantasy starter can be.
Bumgarner went two innings in his second start of the spring, giving up two runs on two hits while walking one and striking out one against the Padres on Tuesday. Bumgarner has now given up four runs in three Cactus League innings, but there is absolutely no cause for concern. With pitchers of his ilk, spring training stats mean little to nothing. Bumgarner is no exception, posting a career 4.28 spring training ERA across 138.2 innings while owning a 2.99 career mark. As long as he is healthy heading towards Opening Day, then Bumgarner should be considered a top-tier starting pitcher for the 2017 season.
Bumgarner opted not to participate in the WBC this year, instead focusing on preparing for the regular season, CSN Bay Area reports. Potential Bumgarner owners will be delighted that he isn't putting his body through any additional high-leverage innings. If there were any pitcher that would be able to handle that workload, the former World Series MVP would top the list. Workload concerns have always surrounded Bumgarner, but he appears to be cut from a different cloth, quashing any sort of arm fatigue concerns with consistent dominance on the mound. He should be considered a top-tier pitcher again this season.
Bumgarner allowed five runs on four hits, including three homers in a no-decision over the Padres on Saturday. He also struck out five and walked one. It was the first time all season Bumgarner yielded three homers in one outing. The Giants ace has now tossed up 26 home runs this season. San Francisco is 2-2 in Bumgarner's last four starts, and he hasn't won a game since Sept. 3. He is 14-9 with a 2.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 246 strikeouts in 219.1 innings this season. His final regular season start will be Friday against the Dodgers.
Bumgarner threw seven shutout innings and allowed just one hit with 10 strikeouts but was left with a no-decision Monday against the Dodgers. Bumgarner must be furious at the lack of support from his teammates, as he did everything he could to give the Giants a chance to win Monday night. This marks the sixth time he has reached double-digit strikeouts this year. Monday's performance brings him to 241 strikeouts for the season, enough for a career high and a brilliant 10.2 K/9.