Madison Bumgarner's Struggles

Ok, before I start, I want to emphasize that I don't really think Bumgarner is struggling (lol hook thread title).  He's been fantastic, even more so considering his age and how little time it took to become a very good MLB starter.  That said, it's seemed that he's had real trouble this year with runners on base.  Since I don't have anything to do in my mother's basement, because my fucking A Dance with Dragons book didn't arrive today, I decided to look into the numbers.  I don't promise anything you probably don't already know, but I thought we might as well look at the hard data instead of just what feels right:


2010 Bases Empty 17.30% 3.60% 4.8 1.03 0.343 100.00% 3.63 3.78 1.15 18.90% 43.30% 37.80% 12.20% 8.50%
2010 Men on Base 19.60% 8.30% 2.38 0.72 0.269 47.70% 3.68 3.94 1.25 13.80% 47.80% 38.40% 7.50% 7.50%
2010 Men In Scoring 22.50% 6.30% 3.57 0.95 0.253 0.00% 3.54 3.5 1.23 11.50% 48.70% 39.70% 9.70% 9.70%
2011 Bases Empty 19.60% 6.00% 3.27 0.63 0.309 100.00% 2.99 3.33 1.44 19.50% 47.60% 33.00% 4.90% 6.60%
2011 Men on Base 22.30% 6.20% 3.58 0 0.384 29.20% 1.91 2.94 1.21 26.80% 40.20% 33.10% 4.80% 0.00%
2011 Men In Scoring 22.10% 8.90% 2.5 0 0.397 -9.80% 2.19 3.09 1.7 26.00% 46.60% 27.40% 10.00% 0.00%
Career Bases Empty 19.10% 4.70% 4.08 0.94 0.328 100.00% 3.4 3.46 1.3 19.10% 45.70% 35.20% 8.80% 8.80%
Career Men on Base 20.50% 7.50% 2.73 0.36 0.318 39.00% 2.86 3.51 1.26 19.60% 44.70% 35.60% 6.10% 4.10%
Career Men In Scoring 21.90% 8.20% 2.68 0.48 0.321 -1.40% 2.97 3.43 1.37 18.50% 47.10% 34.40% 9.30% 5.60%


So, I'm hoping this table is mostly self-explanatory (glossary at end), but the basic gist is various stats for Bumgarner split out into the different game situations (Bases Empty, Men on Base, Men in Scoring Position).  I want to emphasize two things:

  1. This doesn't include tonight's game against the Padres.
  2. Each season is only 105-110 IP, so the sample size isn't great, even more so when you're cutting it down into chunks.

That said, I think there are three things that stand out.  His BABIP in 2011 with runners on and in scoring position is astronomical at 0.384 and 0.397, compared to career numbers closer to 0.320.  This is actually a flip from last year, where he had a much worse BABIP with the bases empty. 

Now, before I go screaming about bad luck, I need to mention the second thing that stands out: his Line Drive %.  With men on base this year, he's been giving up way too many line drives.  Those numbers are much higher than anything you would reasonably expect.

Unfortunately, here comes the really unsatisfying part: While he has been worse with runners on, it's hard to say whether it's because he's leaving fat pitches over the plate or just getting a bit unlucky.  It's possible that he's getting unlucky with his LD% (this is known to Kruk as, "Sometimes the best pitch is a hanging curve.").  Personally, I think it's mostly been bad luck and his numbers with runners on should regress towards his career numbers.  This is mostly based on his K% and BB% with runners on.  He's still getting the strikeouts and seems to be pitching around batters a bit more (which is expected), so I'm not entirely sure why that would lead to more solid contact.

Lastly, if you've been paying attention, I said three things stand out and have only mentioned two.  The third would be the negative 9.80% LOB% for 2011 with Men in Scoring position.  I don't even know how that works, but I'm going to assume it means the Padres have been cheating and sneaking runners onto the basepaths when the umps weren't looking.

Thoughts? Observations? What you ate at your most recent meal?

Glossary (just in case)

K% - Strikeouts per batter faced

BB% - Walks per batter faced

BABIP - Batting Average on Balls In Play

LOB% - Left On Base %: Percentage of runners left on base

FIP - Fielding Independent Pitching: On the same scale as ERA, it uses strikeouts, walks, and HR's to make a better future indicator of ERA

xFIP - FIP but with the HR rate normalized to league average

IFFB% - Infield flyball %

This FanPost is reader-generated, and it does not necessarily reflect the views of McCovey Chronicles. If the author uses filler to achieve the minimum word requirement, a moderator may edit the FanPost for his or her own amusement.

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