San Francisco Giants ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner hits bombs. Drop the “for a pitcher” part of the sentence. Just, flat out, Madison Bumgarner hits bombs. Period.
Pretend for a second that you have no idea who MadBum is, that you don’t know that he’s one of the most dominant starting pitchers in the game, and that he didn’t put the Giants on his back during their 2014 World Series championship run. Forget all that for a second. Watch that video of Bumgarner taking batting practice in St. Louis. If I told you that he was a power-hitting third baseman, you’d had no choice to believe me, right?
And he’s no stranger to mashing in the batter’s box, either. His senior year of high school, he hit .424 with 11 home runs and drove in 38 runs. But speaking of hitting 11 home runs, Bumgarner has hit 11 home runs over his last 190 plate appearances with the Giants, which matches the home run totals of Bryce Harper and Mike Trout over their last 190 plate appearances. Because of Bumgarner’s home run power, he was asked if he’d ever like to participate in the Home Run Derby, since his 1.91 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 80 innings will have him there, anyway.
“I want to do it,” Bumgarner told Olney before the Giants’ 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
It’s hard to blame Bumgarner for wanting to see how he would stack up against the game’s best hitters. After all, his 13 career homers top all active pitchers.
Unfortunately for Bumgarner, Bochy won’t let him compete in the derby. Even though Bochy initially told Olney he would let his ace participate if asked, he quickly cleared the record.
“No, to be serious, I couldn’t let him do it,” Bochy said. “We couldn’t let him do it.”
Bochy, however, said he would love to see what Bumgarner could do in the derby.
“And Bum, he’s convinced he could win it,” Bochy said. “I think he would wear himself down in the first round, he’d try to hit it so hard.”
I’d love to hear what Giants fans think of this. They’re a pretty rabid fan base over there in San Francisco, and it seems to be a much younger, and more modern-thinking fan base than some of the stuffier and more traditional-thinking fan bases elsewhere. I’m obviously a fan of an American League team, so I don’t see my pitchers hit all too often, and I haven’t had a pitcher on my team having the kind of season that Bumgarner’s having right now since Pedro Martinez was around. And the thought of Pedro participating in the Home Run Derby in 1999 or 2000 gives me a panic attack even now, and he’s been retired for seven years.
I think the majority opinion is more than likely going to side with Giants manager Bruce Bochy, though. We’d all love to see it. It’s not some sideshow act, like having a pitcher like Bartolo Colon in the Home Run Derby (which would be AWESOME, by the way). Bumgarner can actually hit tape measure shots. But if that’s your ace, and your team has a legitimate shot at a deep postseason run, I’m assuming you’d want that guy to avoid the Home Run Derby like the plague. Or, at least I would. It’s too bad, because judging by that video of him taking batting practice in St. Louis, it looks like he’d have a pretty decent shot at winning the damn thing.