Post-game thread: Madison Bumgarner is good

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 24: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers at AT&T Park on July 24, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

If he maintains his current pace, Madison Bumgarner would be the youngest starting pitcher to walk fewer than two batters per nine innings for the Giants in team history. He wouldn't just be the youngest, he'd have two years on the youngest guy to do it previously, Slick Castleman in 1937. The greatest part of that stat is there was a baseball player named Slick Castleman who played for the Giants. The second-greatest part is that Madison Bumgarner is good.

It's more than Bumgarner's good, or that he has good control, though. It's that he's so freaking young. If he were in A-ball at his age, with the exact same stat line, he'd be a pretty good prospect. But he's in the majors, facing Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks. It's not like after he beats the boss level this year, he'll move on to a tougher level. He's here. This is as good as the competition will get.

Here's a list of the pitchers who were 21 or younger, qualified for an ERA title, and walked fewer than two batters per nine innings:

 

Player Year BB/9 Age Tm G GS CG IP H R ER BB SO ERA ERA+
Bret Saberhagen 1985 1.45 21 KCR 32 32 10 235.1 211 79 75 38 158 2.87 145
Dave Rozema 1978 1.76 21 DET 28 28 11 209.1 205 83 73 41 57 3.14 124
Dave Rozema 1977 1.40 20 DET 28 28 16 218.1 222 87 75 34 92 3.09 139
Mark Fidrych 1976 1.91 21 DET 31 29 24 250.1 217 76 65 53 97 2.34 159
Bert Blyleven 1971 1.91 20 MIN 38 38 17 278.1 267 95 87 59 224 2.81 126
Pete Donohue 1922 1.60 21 CIN 33 30 18 242.0 257 110 84 43 66 3.12 127
Walter Johnson 1908 1.86 20 WSH 36 30 23 256.1 194 75 47 53 160 1.65 139
Watty Lee 1901 1.55 21 WSH 36 33 25 262.0 328 184 128 45 63 4.40 83
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/24/2011.

I included the complete-games column to give you an idea why you might not have heard of a couple of those guys. Their arms done got kerflooied, I'd guess. So, that's the list of pitchers who have had control this good, this young. There are Cy Youngs. There are shiny, shiny plaques in Cooperstown. There are busts. But more importantly, there are seven freaking pitchers on that list.

The list isn't going to have the biggest pool of pitchers from which to choose. There aren't a lot of pitchers who show up when they're 21 or younger and pitch enough to qualify for the ERA title. But baseball's been around for a while -- since 2000, even  -- and there have been enough 21-year-olds around to make Bumgarner's possible inclusion on that list unique and amazing.

Also, he hit a double and scored the go-ahead run because it's not like anyone else was going to do it. It will be such a shame when he's traded with Gary Brown, Zack Wheeler, Brandon Belt, and Pablo Sandoval for Carlos Beltran. But, hey, Carlos Beltran.

This franchise is spoiling us. This is our reward for Ainsworth/Foppert/Williams combining for .3 wins over their Giants careers. And I'll take it. Oh, man, how I'll take it. Of course, we'll take it. Madison Bumgarner is so much fun to watch right now, and he's only 21. Twenty-one!

And congratulations to Brian Wilson for retiring six consecutive hitters over the last two days, which is the first time he's done that in his career. I'm just guessing at that stat, but I'm pretty sure it's right.

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