Madison Bumgarner has struggled mightily for the Arizona Diamondbacks to start the season.
This past offseason, the Arizona Diamondbacks surprised a lot of people in the baseball world by signing ace lefthander Madison Bumgarner away from their fellow NL West rivals, the San Francisco Giants. Bumgarner, who just turned 31, was supposed to be a key piece as the Diamondbacks tried to contend at least for a Wild Card spot this year.
However, it has not gone well to start the 2020 campaign. On Sunday against the San Diego Padres, Bumgarner lasted only two innings and gave up four home runs, meaning that he has now given up seven home runs in 17 1/3 innings so far. He’s also hit four batters and now has a 9.35 ERA.
Of big concern is the velocity of Bumgarner’s fastball, which was sitting at 86 to 88 MPH on Sunday. Previous to this start, according to FanGraphs, the average velocity in 2020 had been 88.2 MPH. This comes after he had been averaging over 91 MPH each of his final four seasons with the Giants. He’s never had a high fastball usage rate, but his curveball and changeup are also down significantly this year.
Bumgarner’s start is a big concern for the Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks have stumbled out of the gate, sitting in last place in the NL West, and most agreed that they were going to need a vintage performance from the former World Series hero to have any chance whatsoever of catching the Los Angeles Dodgers. Coming into this season, Bumgarner had 119 wins, a career 3.13 ERA and four All-Star selections, to go along with his tremendous postseason reputation.
However, it’s not looking good so far in Arizona. Not only were people surprised that he signed with Arizona, but his five-year, $85 million contract seemed to be a bargain. Did other teams know something that the Diamondbacks did not? We can’t help but wonder, given the way that he has looked so far. For the Diamondbacks’ sake, let’s hope he can regain his velocity and figure it out soon.