- Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco Giants)
Bumgarner’s first three years in the league said one word to me: solid. Bumgarner’s next two years screamed another word: elite. Bumgarner has been a main staple of the Giants starting rotation since 2010. This was, of course, one of the best rotations in the league at the time.
Since 2011, “MadBum” has pitched at least 200 innings each year with at least 13 wins in each year. Bumgarner still has yet to have a losing record and I don’t expect we will see one soon, no matter how the Giants’ offense performs.
Let’s talk now about why Bumgarner is this high on my list. Bumgarner does win games during the regular season and performs exceptionally, but a .578 win percentage won’t exactly force a double take. Bumgarner, however, is truly at his best when he plays in October. In his young career, MadBum has already pitched in 14 playoff games, starting 12 of them. He has played in five World Series games (four starts) in three different World Series, he won each start, and the Giants won each Series. Bumgarner’s World Series ERA of 0.25 is best in the history of Major League Baseball with a minimum of 25 innings. In 2014 alone, Bumgarner played in seven playoff games, starting six of them. This includes two starts in the World Series, one of which was a complete game shutout, and one World Series appearance in relief, where he finished out game seven (and the series) with a save.
Bumgarner is the second-best lefty in the league, the second-best pitcher in the NL, and is the second runner-up in my rankings. Bumgarner is an elite pitcher and has a bright future, but has much work to catch the likes of you-know-who.