I’ll be posting a weekend recap in a little bit, but I guess the big thing to take in about the first pair of games this spring was Madison Bumgarner’s velocity. Apparently,
Madison Bumgarner is throwing 93 mph. Good sign.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) February 24, 2019
His cutter was later clocked at 86 mph on a strikeout pitch, and well, folks, I gotta tell you, those are both great signs. Working backwards, the cutter averaged 85.4 mph last season and the fastball 90.9. Last September, I made the point that declining spin rates and velocity across the board was rather alarming and included this chart:
So, as you can see, 93 and 86 and very good signs. It’s still, uh, pretty danged early, and Bumgarner did wind up hitting David Bote in the head and generally unraveling in his second inning via a lot of dinks, dunks, and bleeders, but it’s still an encouraging sign.
If this is just a long line of recovery from a, as Bumgarner described, “separated shoulder” and broken finger, then it makes sense and renews a necessary sense of optimism. The Giants certainly need Madison Bumgarner to perform this season — not just because it will speed up the rebuild when he’s traded, but also because it will renew people’s interest in the team. The psychic charge of a good Madison Bumgarner is too significant to ignore.