Minnesota Twins: Madison Bumgarner can be a front-line starter for the Twins

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 30: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the top of the first inning of a Major League Baseball game at Oracle Park on June 30, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 30: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the top of the first inning of a Major League Baseball game at Oracle Park on June 30, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Twins have been interested in the San Francisco Giants ace and if they can pull it off, he would be a huge boost to the Twins’ pitching staff.

The people that love a good, old-fashioned pitcher’s duel were delighted to watch the showdown between Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard last night at Oracle Park as the San Francisco Giants outlasted the New York Mets, 3-2 in a 16 inning affair.

As reported by Jon Morosi, of MLB.com, the Twins had a scout at Oracle Park to watch the showdown between Madbum and Thor. The scout was also likely there to check out the bevy of bullpen trade chips the Giants have in their possession.

Bumgarner tossed nine innings giving up one earned run in the first inning and scattered five hits, while striking out six batters and issuing one free pass. Syndergaard was equally as impressive, pitching seven innings, giving up six hits, one earned run and striking out eight batters.

This article, however, is not about Syndergaard and his flame-throwing right arm. It’s on Bumgarner. There has been a lot of discussion on social media about Bumgarner’s demise. Let’s just say that demise has been greatly exaggerated.

At the end of April, Bumgarner had an ERA of 4.70. An ERA that was bloated due to two starts in which he gave up five earned runs. Those two starts came against the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.

In his last 15 starts, Bumgarner has only given up three or more runs twice, with 11 of those 15 starts being quality starts. One of those starts that wasn’t a quality start came against the Milwaukee Brewers. In that outing he tossed five innings, giving up one run (unearned) and seven hits. He only exited early in that game because his pitch count was at 103.

Bumgarner’s velocity on all of his pitches are up according to Baseball Savant. Take a look at his velocity on his pitches from 2018 compared to what he’s been throwing in 2019.

Madison Bumgarner Pitch Velocity

    Pitch                               2018                                2019
 Four-seam FB                  90.8 MPH                       91.6  MPH
Sinker                          90.7 MPH                       92.2 MPH
Cutter                          85.5 MPH                       87.1 MPH
Curveball                       77.4 MPH                       78.1 MPH

In his last five starts, Bumgarner owns an ERA of 1.86. There is no denying that Bumgarner is not the same pitcher he was in 2014. There is also no denying that he is still a frontline starter that could help any contending team.

With the Giants only 2 1/2 games back of the second wild-card spot in the National League, the Giants may opt to hold onto Bumgarner, a franchise icon and past playoff hero. If they are willing to listen to offers, however,, the Twins should be all-in on trying to acquire the former World Series MVP.

Any time a guy who went 2-0 with a 0.43 ERA and one save in the World Series is on the open market, you pick up the phone and do everything you can to acquire that man. Imagine going into a postseason series with Jose Berrios and Bumgarner as the team’s one-two punch.

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