Clayton Kershaw was the King of the Southpaws in the NL West this past season, and one of the best in baseball. But I think the Giants have a young lefty that's equally as talented who will seize the throne next year and serve notice to the rest of baseball. You win a World Series game on Halloween and you'd think you'd get some bounce, but Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum cast big shadows. That's all about to change. Madison Bumgarner has yet to show us how good he can really be. The 22-year old from North Carolina was 34-6 in 63 games in the minors (355-2/3 IP), 62 of them starts. Those are ridiculous numbers at any level. He struck out 164 guys in his first year in A-ball (141-2/3 IP) when he was 18 years old. He was the 10th selection--straight out of high school--in the 2007 June draft, behind #1 David Price (Vanderbilt) and #5 Matt Wieters (Georgia Tech). Last season FanGraphs rated MadBum 11th in WAR among all pitchers (5.5), just ahead of Cain (5.2). Lincecum was 22nd (4.4), just behind the aforementioned Price (4.7). Speaking of aforementioneds, Kershaw was 4th (6.8), trailing Justin Verlander (7.0), CC Sabathia (7.1) and Roy Halladay (8.2). If you sort the same list by FIP, MadBum is 4th (2.67), Cain 7th (2.91), and Lincecum 18th (3.17). The top thee spots are no surprise: Halladay (2.20), Kershaw (2.47), and Cliff Lee (2.60).
I told myself I wasn't going to go all number-y, and here I am a-numbering. Besides, who can trust metrics that dis on The Franchise? The Freak walked a few more guys than usual, but he was still better than a dozen guys ahead of him on both those lists. But that's another post. This one is about the kid who struck out 191 and walked only 56 in 204-2/3 IP. Whoops, there I go again. It's hard to stop. MadBum won the clincher in Atlanta in the 2010 LDS in his maiden post-season start. When he got his cup of coffee in 2009 he was the youngest player in the NL. (Cain earned the same distinction in 2005.) He's still the youngest guy on the staff, even younger than Eric Surkamp. The sky is the limit on this guy. He is one of the main reasons I'm so excited about next season--I really believe he is only beginning to develop his game. We got a taste this past season of what a three-headed beast the rotation can be when Tim, Matt, and MadBum all threw 33 starts and 200+ innings. I expect no less this coming season.
p.s. Tim Alderson was also a 1st round pick (#22, a compensation pick from the Dodgers for Jason Schmidt). Like MadBum he came straight from HS, but has yet to see ML time. The Giants lost him in the Freddy Sanchez trade. The only other notables from that draft were Dan Runzler (9th round, #284), and Joe Paterson (10th round, #314) who the Diamondbacks obtained via Rule V. He pitched 1/3 of an inning in the NLDS against Milwaukee (strikeout). Steve Edlefsen was the 494th pick (16th round). Farmhands Wendell Fairley, Nick Noonan, Jackson Williams, and Charlie Culberson were also taken in the same draft in the first round. Fairley (#29) and Noonan (#32) were compensation for Moises Alou, and Williams (#43) was part of the Schmidt deal. Culberson (#51) was, believe it or not, from the loss of Mike Stanton. He was a Giant in 2006 (Sabes loves a LOOGY) after signing a free agent deal with Washington and then being traded for Shairon Martis. Help me, I'm stuck in a B-R trivia quagmire!