Spring Scouting: Madison Bumgarner

April 3, 2009

The information in this report was gathered during Madison Bumgarner's start against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Apr. 1. Velocities were recorded by reading neighboring scouts' radar guns.

The basics

Fastball: 92-94 MPH, consistently. Approximately 32 of Bumgarner's 45 pitches were fastballs (71.1%), and he got 71.9% of those fastballs over for strikes. He threw the majority of his pitches toward the outside half of the plate to both righthanded and lefthanded hitters, but wasn't hesitant to throw inside, either, doing so 37.5% of the time.

Changeup: 81-82 MPH, consistently. As you can see in the above videos, we filmed Bumgarner slightly off-center of home plate, making it difficult to distinguish between his changeup and curveball. Due to the break (or lack thereof) of these pitches in this particular start, we thought all 13 of Bumgarner's off-speed offerings were changeups. He found the strike zone with eight of his changeups (61.5%), showing a preference for throwing the pitch to the outside half of the plate (69.2%).

Breaking ball: N/A. From our angle, we found it difficult to definitively identify any of Bumgarner's pitches as breaking balls. We weren't the only ones having trouble, though. Take the pitch Bumgarner used to strike out Manny Ramirez in the first inning (2:52) as an example: Ramirez may have thought the pitch a curveball, a reporter covering the game called it a slider and a scout watching our footage said it was a fastball. We believe it was a changeup.

Overall opinion

We have Bumgarner ranked as the best pitcher in the minor leagues not named David Price. After seeing the 19-year-old throw the way he did against a lineup of major leaguers, he only increased his stock in our eyes. As discussed above, Bumgarner's pitches are deceptive -- it's quite difficult to identify one from another. This stems from the fact that the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder repeats his delivery with great consistency, releasing his fastball and changeup from an identical arm slot.

Bumgarner looked more comfortable throwing across his body to the third-base side of the rubber than he did to the first-base side. Aside from that, though, it's hard to be critical of Bumgarner's outing. By pairing this showing with his dominant Low-A performance (29.4% K, 4.0% BB, 2.14 FIP) as the fourth-youngest starter at the level last season, we feel Bumgarner is one of the best bets in the minors to become a true No. 1 starter.

Box score breakdown

Bumgarner's final line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (10 TBF).

Juan Castro was the Dodgers' lone baserunner, hitting a one-out double to right-center in the third inning (1:33).

Bumgarner recorded four ground outs against one fly out. He threw 33 of his 45 pitches over for strikes (73.3%).


We plan to post Scouting Reports regularly this season. Adam Loberstein can be reached at aloberstein@projectprospect.com